Medical debt is the number one reason why Americans end up filing for bankruptcy. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately a quarter of US adults ages 18-64 report problems paying or an inability to pay medical bills.
This includes people who have private insurance plans as well as individuals who receive health insurance from an employer. In 2014, about 40% of Americans racked up debt as a consequence of a medical issue.
Obamacare has been responsible for raising debt by trillions and many average US citizens are losing coverage under the so-called Affordable Care Act. The mortality rate increased in the years after it was introduced, with more premature deaths in particular.
The sick are dying before their time, and for those fortunate enough to survive, they are burdened with unwieldy medical debt that they can’t possibly pay off.
If the president has his druthers, this will one day be a thing of the past. The Trump administration’s proposed health care overhaul may have collapsed last year after two Republican turncoats decided to oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the ACA, but White House insiders say health care reform is still front-and-center for the administration.
Director of Domestic Policy Andrew Bremberg has said that Trump’s “policy direction is more robust and substantive than some people understand.”
Having repealed the individual mandate that forced Americans to sign up for costly health care plans, the administration must now hold out hope that the Graham-Cassidy Repeal Bill will get the votes it needs to pass.
The bill would fundamentally turn control of the health care markets over to the states. Changes would increase funding to the home states of Senate holdouts like Arizona Rep. John McCain. It would also enable states to opt out of ACA regulations.
As the bill’s co-author, Lindsay Graham, has said, “If you like Obamacare, you can keep it. If you want to replace it, you can.”
This more centrist piece of legislation stands a better chance of receiving bipartisan support than its predecessor which is good news for those who have been praying for significant change to come to the country’s health care system.
More than 2 million people have been adversely affected by medical bills, and not everyone knows how to properly file for bankruptcy. Among those dealing with problems paying medical bills, nearly identical shares of the insured and uninsured said the bills had a major impact on their families.
26% of people who reported problems paying medical bills received claim denials and 32% received care from an out-of-network provider that wasn’t covered under their health care plan.
A lot of people who are coping with the crushing weight of medical debt aren’t those afflicted with a chronic illness but, rather, people with a sudden or one-time illness. Fortunately for those individuals, the Trump administration is ready to roll out short-term health plans as an alternative to the high-cost coverage on Obamacare’s exchanges.
The new plans would offer coverage for a period of 364 days and would effectively nullify the former-president’s 2016 directive banning short-term plans that last longer than three months. These plans would be far less costly to struggling Americans than long-term plans because they aren’t subject to the premium-inflating mandates of Obama-era regulations.
This is good news for the temporarily sick and even better news for those who have been putting off a visit to a doctor for fear of having to pay out of pocket or break the bank.
While this kind of legislation will not eliminate the debt individuals have already incurred from past medical bills, it will ease the burden moving forward and prevent people from driving themselves into deeper debt down the road.