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Last year, I took issue with a “study” which claimed to show that 50% of bankruptcies were caused by medical bills. At that time, I pointed out that a couple of researchers checked the data and discovered that only 17% of bankruptcies could be plausibly attributed to medical bills.
Well, it turns out that the actual number is only 5%. Researchers at UC Davis have found that reckless overspending has driven most personal bankruptcies, and that medical problems are not even the second most prevalent cause:
Zhu [the study’s author] concluded that debt accounted for more than 50 percent of recent bankruptcies, while medical problems caused just 5 percent and unemployment led to only 13 percent.
So, how did the authors of that original study reach conclusions so much at odds with those of other researchers? Well, its authors run PNHP, an advocacy group committed to foisting single-payer health care on the American public.
In other words, doctors Woolhandler and Himmelstein fudged the data in their widely publicized “study” to support their political agenda. Happily, there are still a few honest researchers out there whose work can actually be trusted.
+ May 2008
+ May 2007