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    Saturday, February 12, 2005

    Bankruptcy: The widely reported study on bankruptcy and medical costs was more than a little bankrupt itself:

    Some bankruptcies are caused by crushing medical debt. But they aren't half of all bankruptcies, and the only way to create the impression they are is to jimmy the figures. For example, the study classifies "uncontrolled gambling," "drug addiction," "alcohol addiction," and the birth or adoption of a child as "a medical cause," regardless of whether medical bills are involved. Yes, there may be situations in which a researcher might legitimately want to classify those conditions as "medical," but a study that is being used to prove that Americans are going bankrupt as a result of crushing medical bills is not one of them. A father who has gambled away his family's mortgage payment is not likely the victim of crushing medical bills. Similarly, new parents who find they can no longer afford their previous lifestyle now that one of them has to stay home with the baby will usually find the obstetrician's bill the least of their problems. Babies are a financial hardship even when hospitals give them away free.

    Maybe that's why only 28.3 percent of the surveyed debtors themselves agreed with the authors that their bankruptcy was substantially caused by "illness or injury." The rest put the blame elsewhere, even when the study labeled their problems as at least in part "medical."


    Wonder if they counted compulsive shopping and mania-induced spending sprees, too?

    (RangelMD also noted problems with the study.)
     

    posted by sydney on 2/12/2005 07:16:00 PM 0 comments

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