UPDATE: The leading cause of bankruptcies in the U.S.? Yeah.
My wife and I did for years, and we've been incensed by the lies we've heard back here in the U.S. about Canada's supposedly broken system.
It's not broken - and what's more, Canadians like and fiercely defend it.
Example: Our son was born at Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. My wife got excellent care. The total bill for three days in a semi-private room? $21.
My friend Art Finley is a West Virginia native who lives in Vancouver."I'm 82, and in excellent health," he told me this week. "It costs me all of $57 a month for health care, and it's excellent. I'm so tired of all the lies and bullshit I hear about the system up here in the U.S. media."
Finley, a well-known TV and radio host for years in San Francisco, adds,"I now have 20/20 vision thanks to Canadian eye doctors. And I haven't had to wait for my surgeries, either."
Using a conservative definition, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92% of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5000, or 10% of pretax family income. The rest met criteria for medical bankruptcy because they had lost significant income due to illness or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Three quarters had health insurance. Using identical definitions in 2001 and 2007, the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 49.6%. In logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic factors, the odds that a bankruptcy had a medical cause was 2.38-fold higher in 2007 than in 2001.
Illness and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of US bankruptcies.