Medical bills and bankruptcy

Wendell Potter points to a study on medical debt as a major component of bankruptcies:

One of the great hopes of health care reform is that it will reduce the number of Americans who file for bankruptcy because of medical debt. A new study in Massachusetts is providing evidence that the reform law passed in that state in 2006, and which served as the model for the Affordable Care Act, is indeed making a significant dent in bankruptcy filings.

The study, conducted by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, found that the Massachusetts reform law, often called RomneyCare after then GOP Gov. Mitt Romney, has reduced personal bankruptcies in the state by 20 percent.

In no other country in the developed world is medical debt a leading cause of personal bankruptcy. But in the U.S. it is the leading cause, a phenomenon even FOXBusiness News highlighted in a report last week.

Citing a 2013 study by NerdWallet Health, an online service that helps people make more informed health care decisions, FOX reported that unpaid medical bills were the number one cause of bankruptcy filings in this country, surpassing both credit card and mortgage debt.