The numbers that tell the story of medical debt in the U.S. are staggering: Around 100 million Americans have health care debt, and together they owe at least $140 billion. And research suggests this debt can have striking consequences on people’s financial, physical, and mental health.
In this episode of the “Tradeoffs” podcast, Dan Gorenstein talks about the pain and possible solutions to medical debt with KHN senior correspondent Noam N. Levey and UCLA researcher Wes Yin.
“About a third of people who have medical debt owe less than $1,000,” Levey said. “But a quarter of people owe, I think, more than $5,000. More than half say they’ve had to make a difficult sacrifice, like using up all their savings, moving in with friends and family, or losing their homes. So I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that there’s a shocking amount of misery out there.”
By Noam N. LeveyKaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.