Study: New Healthcare Law Won't Stop Medical Bankruptcies

I think most of us are already aware that the new healthcare law is a piece of Swiss cheese, and now David Sirota points out where some of the biggest holes are:

With 60 percent of all bankruptcies related to medical costs; with manyof those medical-related bankruptcies occurring among those who have private insurance; and with the fear of medical bankruptcy encouraging the insured to unduly skimp on medical services, the Obama healthcare bill did purport to address the issue via caps on out-of-pocket expenses. But those weak caps -- and the bill's failure to achieve universal coverage -- promise to allow the medical debt problem to continue, just as they have in the state whose "reforms" most closely mimic Obama's bill.

As the Los Angeles Times recently reported:

Studying medical bankruptcies in Massachusetts, whose recent healthcare reform was a model for national reform, researchers found that while new insurance rules increased the number of people who had coverage, those rules did not improve coverage -- leaving many still struggling with medical debt... Proponents of the national healthcare reform passed into law last year have claimed that it would reduce medical bankruptcy in the United States by helping more Americans get insurance. This new study, which was published Tuesday in the American Journal of Medicine, suggests that a reduction in bankruptcies is unlikely.

Add to all of this a new Center for Public Integrity report about how American wages are still being eaten up by private health insurance premium increases, and the trajectory is clear: Events are proving that "real reform" and strengthening insurance industry power are mutually exclusive goals. That is, they are proving the veracity of progressives' original criticism of President Obama's healthcare legislation.

This is, to be sure, a politically inconvenient truth to both parties and their insurance industry benefactors -- but alas, it is the truth. The longer we simply stare at it -- or pretend it doesn't exist -- the longer the healthcare crisis will continue.


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