Americans Owe $140 Billion in Medical Debt to Collection Agencies

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that Americans now have over $140 billion in unpaid medical bills owed to collection agencies. The figure is nearly twice as high as the most recent data from several years ago. But the country’s total medical debt is even higher, as the $140 billion does not include bills owed directly to health providers or credit card debt from medical expenses. Republican-run states that chose not to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act had the highest debts.

domestic empire says:

Don’t Let It Happen Here

If the Tories get their way and push through privatisation of the NHS, UK citizens will similarly face mountainous debt. The health of the UK should not be in private hands. The NHS is public property, and must remain so. Vote to protect the NHS. Vote out Tories.

Sources:

Medical Debt in the US, 2009-2020 (American Medical Association)

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2782187

BMJ lashes out at UK ‘state corruption’ and ‘suppression of science’

Covid-19 - The Great Scamdemic
The highly-respected medical journal hit out at the “politicisation of science” in an article lashing out at Tory cronyism.

The coronavirus pandemic has “unleashed state corruption on a grand scale” that is “harmful to public health”, a scathing editorial in medical journal the BMJ has said.

In an unusually political intervention for the highly-respected scientific publication, it warns that politicians are “suppressing science” and accuses the government of “opportunistic embezzlement”.

“The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency – a time when it is even more important to safeguard science,” the article – penned by executive editor Kamran Abbasi – says.

Source: BMJ lashes out at UK ‘state corruption’ and ‘suppression of science’

Source: Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science

Disability groups are deeply concerned about a dangerous mental capacity bill rushed through parliament

The Tories have quietly pushed through a bill that seriously weakens the rights of people deemed lacking mental capacity.

The government has succeeded in quietly pushing through a bill that seriously weakens the rights of 300,000 people with learning difficulties, brain injuries and autism.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill – which passed in the House of Commons on Tuesday, without key amendments that would have added vital safeguards – has received little media attention or public scrutiny, but disability organisations like mine are worried it could undermine key freedoms that, instead, urgently needed to be strengthened.

The Tories first announced last summer that they would seek to pass a reform to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. While disabled people and their organisations are in agreement that reform is needed, the bill presented was immediately flagged as a dangerous threat to the rights of people deemed to be lacking mental capacity.

Last year Inclusion London started a petition asking people to support our call to protect the freedoms of people receiving care and support. The petition has nearly 200,000 signatures. But despite criticism from disabled people, advocates, lawyers, professionals, and academics, the bill continued its rapid passage through Parliament without pause.

The Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage MP, wrote to us in an attempt to mitigate some of our concerns and invited us to meet with her in early February. Neither the letter nor the meeting convinced us that the bill will adequately protect disabled people’s human rights, and our key concerns remain.

There are serious conflicts of interest as to who has the power to make important decisions about a person’s deprivation of liberty inherent in the bill, and this could mean that people are forced to live in care homes or be physically or medically restrained if it’s an easier or cheaper option for a local council or service provider.

There are also issues with access to advocacy and the right to information. Not everyone will have the right to an independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) – there’s an assumption friends or relatives can act as an advocate. This should never be the default option, everyone should be entitled to an IMCA. Not all relatives will act in an individual’s best interests nor can they be expected to understand a complex system.

Finally, there has been a very short period of time for members of the public to voice their thoughts or concerns with the bill. The government failed to put the bill into easy read format, to make it more accessible to people with learning difficulties, until just two weeks ago. Easy read is a format designed for the people most likely to be affected by the bill.

Repeated requests for accessible information about the bill have been ignored over the last 6 months. One can only conclude that people with learning difficulties have been disregarded as valid stakeholders in this process. This is an unacceptable situation and one that would be politically and culturally unacceptable if applied to other communities.

We believe it’s unacceptable that the government ignored all requests to pause, engage and listen to our key concerns. Two hours for MPs to debate the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill is just the latest example of poor law-making that will weaken the human rights of disabled people in some of the most vulnerable situations.

Via Ellen Morrison | leftfootforward.org

Ellen Morrison works for Inclusion London, which supports deaf and disabled people’s organisations across the capital.

The Hidden & Visible Worlds of People Living With Mental Illness

Liz Obert: Dualities looks at the hidden and visible worlds of people living with mental illness

The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With Mental Illness

For many years, Liz Obert woke up, got dressed, went to work, and acted as if everything was fine. Once she returned home, however, she found herself lying around depressed, feeling hopeless and full of dread. Diagnosed in her early 20s with depression, Obert said she tried therapy and medication, but nothing seemed to work until around five years ago when a psychiatrist diagnosed her with bipolar II disorder and put her on mood stabilizers. Although she’s had a few medication tweaks since then—“that’s kind of the life of someone who has bipolar”—Obert said she has for the most part been in a good place. Obert feels the dual life she led for so long isn’t unique for people who suffer from mental illnesses and who “must mask their symptoms in order to function in the outside world.” In 2013, she decided to begin a series that dealt with the realities of what it means to put on a brave face while simultaneously coping with forms of depression. Starting with herself, Obert took two photos: one that showed the person she chooses to present to the world, and a second portrait that presented an image of how she existed behind closed doors when feeling depressed. “I hope to give a glimpse to the viewer about the internal lives of people who struggle with disorders that are often misunderstood,” she wrote in an artist statement about the series “Dualities.”

Continue Reading… Liz Obert: Dualities looks at the hidden and visible worlds of people living with mental illness PHOTOS..