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The health care industry’s medical debt rip-off | News, Sports, Jobs

While our docs, nurses and technicians are among the many finest on the planet, our health care system itself will not be even designed for care, however for the fixed growth of earnings for insurance coverage giants, drugmakers, hospital chains, system managers, financiers and different voracious parts of the medical business. As one physician angrily stated of commercial health care: “Debt is no longer just a bug in our system. It is one of the main products. We have a health care system almost perfectly designed to create debt.” How sick is that?

For starters, ponder the time period “medical industry.” The moral essence of health care is that it’s a human proper, important to each particular person and to the widespread good. But company elites now declare to “own” our health by shriveling the idea of care to only one other industrial product obtainable to these in a position to pay regardless of the monopolistic industrialists demand.

But this rationing of care meant the business was leaving a mass market of tens of millions of sufferers untapped, so the business bean counters made a important adjustment. Lower costs? Ha — don’t be foolish! Instead, the industrywide system has been encouraging medical debt because the ticket to care. So, you are available sick or injured, scared and perhaps incoherent or confused… and immediately you’re hooked as much as a long-term medical cost plan.

If it has occurred to you, you’re hardly alone. In a startling discovering, a latest survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that Americans — together with 41% of all adults — are in hock due to the so-called “care-industry.” This contains payments from the system itself, plus cash borrowed from household or mates and medical debt that sufferers placed on bank cards. An evaluation three years in the past estimated that households had been being hit with a minimum of $195 billion in funds for medical borrowing — a quantity pushed dramatically larger for the reason that pandemic.

Unfortunately, America has had no scarcity of huge enterprise CEOs who develop into grifters, ripping off shoppers, employees and others. The most vile of the company con artists are those that profiteer on individuals’s health care wants.

We’ve had such notorious, high-profile scammers as Medicare fraudster Sen. Rick Scott, Big Pharma worth gouger Martin Shkreli and the Sackler household of opioid pushers. Worse, although, we now face an industrywide greed epidemic that’s each pushing larger prices onto sufferers needing care and systematically pushing those that can’t pay the complete inflated tab into debt schemes that bilk them with bloated curiosity funds that go on for years. Medical bankruptcies are hovering.

Here’s probably the most important statistic within the opaque and convoluted world of health care economics: Half of U.S. adults don’t have the cash to cowl a $500 medical invoice. As the system retains jacking up its costs and earnings, tens of millions of households are compelled by sickness or harm into the darkish valley of debt, inhabited by a shadowy community of ruthless debt collectors employed by the medical institution. But wait, you say, I’ve health insurance coverage! Still, ever-rising costs and out-of-pocket insurance coverage necessities put you into debt, too. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey discovered that 6 out of 10 working-age adults with health protection went into medical debt prior to now 5 years.

Most perversely, having health care debt prevents many individuals from getting health care. One in seven Americans say the company system has refused care to them as a result of they’ve unpaid medical payments, and a two-thirds majority say they’ve postpone care due to the concern of crushing debt. As one professional places it: “The No. 1 reason — and the No. 2, 3 and 4 reasons — that people go into medical debt is they don’t have the money. It’s not complicated.”

What’s probably the most damning factor about America’s health care system? The system. To assist cease the company grifters and profiteers, go to


Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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