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Medical Debt Soars

From Credit & Collection News, July 26, 2021:

Americans’ Medical Debt Reached About $140 Billion In 2020 Americans’ medical debt added up to about $140 billion last year, according to new research published Tuesday in JAMA. Americans owe debt collectors more medical debt than any other source of debt. Looking at 10% of all credit reports from credit rating agency TransUnion, researchers said they found nearly one in five Americans had medical debt in collections in June 2020. Americans’ Medical Debts Are Bigger Than Was Known, Totaling $140 Billion Americans owe nearly twice as much medical debt as was previously known, and the amount owed has become increasingly concentrated in states that do not participate in the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion program. … Mr. Mahoney said he was shocked to see the widening inequality in medical debt that disparate state decisions appear to have caused. The states that have declined to expand Medicaid — particularly in the South — started out having more medical debt before Obamacare passed, and since other states have expanded Medicaid, the chasm has grown wider. In 2020, Americans living in states that did not expand Medicaid owed an average of $375 more than those in states that participated in the program, roughly a 30 percent increase from the gap that existed the year before enactment.