Lead Plaintiff In Health Care Reform Suit Files For Bankruptcy With Medical Debt


Written by Annie-Rose Strasser

The lead plaintiff in the legal case against the Affordable Care Act filed for bankruptcy after accruing nearly $5,000 in medical debt. According to the Los Angeles Times, plaintiff Mary Brown was uninsured last fall when her husband’s medical bills stacked up to $4,500. That, combined with other debt they had accumulated, led the couple to file for bankruptcy:

Brown, reached by telephone Thursday, said the medical bills were her husband’s. “I always paid my bills, as well as my medical bills,” she said angrily. “I never said medical insurance is not a necessity. It should be anyone’s right to what kind of health insurance they have.

“I believe that anyone has unforeseen things that happen to them that are beyond their control,” Brown said. “Who says I don’t have insurance right now?”

Brown “doesn’t have insurance. She doesn’t want to pay for it. And she doesn’t want the government to tell her she has to have it,” according to Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Brown may be focused on health care choices, but American taxpayers have another concern. Sixty-two percent of people who file for personal bankruptcy do so because of medical bills, placing those debt burdens on the American taxpayer. And while Brown’s husband may have run up his medical bills, others take the less medically responsible road and decline preventive treatment so they can avoid high medical bills in the short term (but risk more problems later).

Other opponents of the Affordable Care Act may argue for a consumer-driven market on health care plans, the fact is that the plans people chose, or their choice not to have one, effects everyone. The Affordable Care Act, on the other hand, may already be slowing health care costs.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Photo from Thinkstock


Mike M.
Mike M.5 years ago

If we force a libertarian to pay for health care, that is one less freeloader running to the hospital on their neighbors (ten thousands of) dollars when they and their family's get sick. If homeless currently get sick, they just do what the other freeloaders do and go to the hospital on their neighbor. Ronald Reagan signed the law mandating hospitals to never turn people away, forcing them to push the cost onto the rest of us non-freeloaders. If we give preventative healthcare to these homeless, usually mentally ill (they already have emergency health care), we save money from preventive care. Anyone today, who is not insured, has emergency health care right now, every single one of them and we are all paying for them. It is proven that people with preventative care cost less in the long run.
I wonder if Steve G below is a paid shrill, here to repeat all the BS talking points of the insurance and drug companies or just someone who fell for it?

Heidi Awes
Heidi Aubrey5 years ago

This article is blissfully appropriate.

Steve Gomer
Steve Gomer6 years ago

so here it is, you force someone to pay for health care, and still everyone pays for the reduced cost health care provided by our Government. You also get to pay for the care of all the new homeless people who roam the streets as a result of being forced to buy insurance they could not afford in the first place....

Steve Gomer
Steve Gomer6 years ago

"""The Affordable Care Act, on the other hand, may already be slowing health care costs""" No, the affordable care act does not and cannot slow or stop the rise in medical costs. and to say you bear the cost of the uninsured fails to recognize that even with this so called affordable care act, you will still bear this cost in increased taxes to pay for the uninsured. This is a fact you cannot get away from no matter what Government laws are passed.

It is everyones right to chose what insurance they have, or don't have. It is not The Place of Our Government to force anyone to get coverage... Too many people will be forced to chose between paying for health care or eating. Or choosing to pay for health care and become homeless cause they can no longer pay for their rent.

Vicki F.
Vicki F6 years ago

The right wing attack against the Affordable Care Act has made so many people victims of misinformation and victims of corporate billionaires who don't give a darn about the American people. It was President Obama and Democrats who cared.

Cora B.
Cora Bird6 years ago

One of the features I don't understand about this Obamacare plan is why this government is exempting illegal immigrants and Muslims from the requirement that they carry health care insurance like the rest of us will be forced to buy. This just allows them to continue to use the medical system without the consequences of having to pay for care, thereby increasing costs for the rest of us again.

Lee Witton
6 years ago

Peggy - I so empathize with you. I returned to school because of the abysmal economy but now am pursuing a career path I should have pursued the first time around. On the bright side Peggy; with Obama in office, for the first time since 1996, factory jobs are opening their doors, workers are going back to work with 200,000 plus new jobs opening up each month. We also can make a difference to our planet and our economy by using cloth or fiber bags when shopping, buying American made products (check out sites that list made only in America products). Obama is working to make a great change in America and if he continues on the course he has now gotten on, he will perhaps have a legacy of the greatest president in American history. Labor unions, factory jobs, college opportunities for all, Universal Healthcare! These are some of the initiatives American people should be fighting for and insisting our politicians fight for as well.

Peggy D.
Margaret D6 years ago

It is inconceivable to me that the supposed "greatest country on earth" does not give a damn about the health of it's own people!! If this country had done what most other large industustrialized countries had done YEARS AGO, we would NOT be in the mess we are in now!! I lost my job a few years back and have not found a job in this lousy economy (age has a lot to do with it, I'm sure). I, for one, was glad to finally see someone being able to challenge and finally get something going in the right direction (Obama). However, LOTS more needs to be done to keep the greedy Repugs from overturning any progress already made. They lie, lie, lie!! I have seen ads where they must pay someone to make derogatory remarks about the Canadian health system in order to turn the heads of the naive Americans into thinking health change is not a good idea even IF it would actually benefit them!! Honestly, right now I am paying through the nose for health insurance but at this rate, who knows how long I can afford to continue to pay??? Even at the high rate I am paying, I still have a high deductable, not to mention the damn co-insurance portion!! God forbid I have to go in the hospital at the end of the year and be in there at the beginning of a new year because then they can charge DOUBLE deductibles and co-insurance!! As it is, I am also paying more for my monthly premium because of pre-existing conditions!! So, if MORE change does not take place to reduce monthly premiums, deductibles and

J.L. A.
JL A6 years ago

her position seems illogical

s. ryan
p. q6 years ago

stupid people