The term ‘debt’ carries judgment. It varies by degree, but the presumption is that those in debt made a choice. You knew what you were charging to the credit card. You knew the tuition when you took the student loan. But no one chooses medical debt. It happens to you.
In the US, patients agree to receive treatment — often in life-and-death situations — and they get the best medical attention in the world. In exchange, they agree to pay the cost, whatever it is. The healthcare system has you over a barrel and it knows it.
Even if you have comprehensive health insurance, you can easily be a one-car accident or cancer diagnosis away from six-figure debt. That’s why medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States and affects nearly one-third of working Americans.
Describing this phenomenon as “medical debt” diverts accountability from the major players in the system. We need to change the lexicon. “Medical debt” implies the patient did something wrong—instead of being wronged themselves.
The current system has created a state of healthcare oppression with $140 billion in medical debt shouldered by millions of victims of healthcare profiteering.
Read the full article as it originally appeared on Fierce Healthcare