Private Insurance is a Defective Product

“Private insurance is a defective product. … Even middle-class families with supposedly good coverage are just one serious illness away from financial ruin. My colleagues and I recently found that medical bills and illness contribute to 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies — a 50 percent increase since 2001. Strikingly, three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had insurance — at least when they first got sick. In case after case, the insurance families bought in good faith failed them when they needed it most. Some were bankrupted by co-payments and deductibles, and loopholes that allowed their insurer to deny coverage. Others got too sick to work, leaving them unemployed and uninsured. And insurance regulations like those proposed in the tri-committee bill cannot fix these problems.”

Testimony of Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., to the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee