by jerry on June 26, 2022
Kaiser Health News published an article covering some legislative proposals in North Carolina regarding medical debt. Predictably, the article starts with a personal anecdote about how medical debt distressed an individual. After listing two more personal anecdotes, the article goes on to describe two legislative initiatives meant to curtail the burden of medical debt among the low-income residents of North Carolina: one being the adoption of Medicaid expansion (previously opposed by Republicans) and one to grant additional protections to low-income individuals.
While it may be unclear whether these particular proposals become law, it does seem that mounting grievances towards medical billing will likely end up triggering more government involvement of some sort. A $30,000 medical bill for a visit to the emergency room (the second personal anecdote) seems extraordinarily high, even by US healthcare standards; the distress was compounded by the hospital suing the couple, who feared loss of their home. Not specific to the healthcare industry, it also seems that when an institution makes a mistake and requires several hours of a customer's time to remedy the issue (the third anecdote), that institution should bear some financial responsibility for causing the loss of the customer's time. While individual institutions might be optimizing for their short-term bottom line, continuing to do so in this political climate could lead to heavier regulation or other government involvement.