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Would proposed health care bill lead to increase in bankruptcy?

Most Louisiana residents are aware that medical debt is a serious issue that can cause a great deal of stress. For some, financial disaster is just one unexpected illness or injury away. What many people fail to recognize, however, is how quickly financial ruin could come even without a serious medical event. If an individual were to lose his or her health coverage, expenses could quickly skyrocket, and personal bankruptcy could be the only remaining viable option.

Some experts believe that the revised health care bill that is currently making its way through the legislative process could bring about a big spike in bankruptcy cases. Should the bill pass, estimates place the number of people who would lose their Medicaid coverage at 15 million. That is a significant number of individuals and families that might be affected, and the way that they might respond to such an event is difficult to predict.

Some people who are faced with a serious financial strain will struggle for many years to pay those obligations down. Only when they are faced with the fact that repayment is not possible will they pursue personal bankruptcy. By that point, they will have depleted their savings, put themselves through a great deal of stress and may have gone without necessary medical care for years.

Personal bankruptcy is not anyone's chosen path, but it is a powerful tool that is available for Louisiana residents who are unable to meet their financial obligations no matter how hard they may try. Should the new health bill pass, many families could find themselves without much-needed medical coverage. That could push them into a set of circumstances where difficult decisions must be made.

Source: Time, "The Senate Health Care Bill Could Lead to More Personal Bankruptcies", Jennifer Calfas, June 26, 2017

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