Chasing Medical Debt in a Pandemic

The pandemic didn’t stop some hospitals from aggressive tactics to recover medical debts.
2019–mid-2020 saw a 90% decline in legal actions by America’s largest hospitals and health systems—but more than a dozen institutions kept up heavy pressure to collect payments well into 2020, a Johns Hopkins/Axios report found.
Poor and uninsured individuals bore the brunt of a systemic problem: the fundamental tension between American hospitals’ need to stay solvent and provide health care.
The disconnect: “Sometimes we treat it [health care] like a commodity, sometimes we treat it like a right,” says University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley. “In the eyes of the law, these are just personal debts.”

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