Poll Finds Many Americans Think Paying For Health Care Is A Hardship
A New York Times/CBS poll examines the lengths many people must go to when trying to pay their medical bills. Also, NPR and ProPublica look at a nonprofit hospital in Missouri that has turned to lawsuits against patients who don't or can't pay their bills.
The New York Times:
How The High Cost Of Medical Care Is Affecting Americans
Over the past two years, the New York Times series Paying Till It Hurts has examined the high costs of ordinary medical care in the United States, exposing the reasons and chronicling the human fallout behind the nation’s extraordinary $2.9 trillion medical bill. In response, more than 10,000 readers shared individual experiences like the ones above. But how does a collection of often heartbreaking, often startling tales reflect national experiences and attitudes? The available data did not answer all of my questions. So, using reader comments as a starting point, The Times designed a questionnaire with CBS News and conducted a national poll this month. (Rosenthal, 12/18)
Do Americans Think Their Health Care Costs Are Affordable?
Fifty-two percent of Americans say they find basic medical care affordable, but that's down from 61 percent last December. Today, for 46 percent of Americans, paying for medical care is a hardship, up 10 points. Similarly, just over half of Americans are at least somewhat satisfied with their health care costs, while 43 percent are dissatisfied. (Dutton, De Pinto, Salvanto and Backus, 12/18)
When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Patients
On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick. And there's another reason everyone knows this place: Thousands of people around St. Joseph have been sued by the hospital and had their wages seized to pay for medical bills. Some of them, given their income, could have qualified to get their bill forgiven entirely — but the hospital seized their wages anyway. (Arnold and Kiel, 12/19)