It’s no secret I qualify for Medicare. But, I’m healthy and haven’t had to worry about a catastrophic illness like so many Americans who find themselves without even basic healthcare coverage they can’t afford and which drives them deeper in debt.
A new research study presents some alarming facts about our millennial population. It turns out this group is accumulating healthcare debt in greater amounts than older Americans, and more frequently.
According to the study published in Health Affairs, one in six Americans have past-due healthcare bills on their credit report, a debt totaling $81 billion. Just over half of those bills are for amounts less than $600.
Medical debt is the most common financial burden in a country where healthcare spending amounts to 18 percent of our gross domestic product. The largest share of the debt is among people 27 years of age – one year after children lose their eligibility for a parent’s health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
As a consequence, we have people who use a credit card to pay a medical bill, but then have a utility bill or car payment they can’t afford. Or, they choose not to pay off the medical debt to pay other living expenses, in some cases college debt.
How long are we going to see these kinds of studies before we do something to find ways to make health insurance more affordable...or free for everyone? And, when are we going to stop cutting resources for research that confronts chronic illness which is linked to a majority of healthcare spending?
Medical debts can haunt a person for years. Try getting a loan for a home mortgage or car loan when there’s a past due payment flag on your credit report. I’ve heard people’s stories about medical and healthcare coverage throughout the district, people who wonder why we can’t join the rest of the world in providing universal coverage.
It’s the number one issue of the district and my campaign. My Republican opponent supports his party’s efforts to cut Medicare and Social Security. We need to ask Pete Stauber why he chooses more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of those who depend on these programs to stay alive. Why does he oppose efforts to modernize our healthcare system to insure every last one of us has the right to access high quality, affordable care?
I look forward to the remaining days of this campaign and I promise you I’ll continue to fight for universal healthcare coverage now and when you send me to Washington – I hope I’ve earned your support and vote in the August 14 primary so I can challenge Pete Stauber directly on his opposition to healthcare for all Americans.