In his extraordinarily well-documented expose on the medical-industrial complex, Steven Brill explains thoroughly and repeatedly what serious pundits, policy experts and policymakers have failed to see or have feared to say: there is no free market in health care.
In fact, Americans age 75 and older are the only group in our survey for which credit card debt actually increased over this time period. Why? The Greatest Generation didn't suddenly become recklessly spendthrift and go wild on eBay.
We're in debt, as individuals, because of a lack of services. If Washington lacks the political will to address these issues and kick a little ass, we'll do it ourselves. Our message to Americans is simple: You are not a loan. And you are not alone.
As tens of millions of Americans are paying off medical bills over time, the potential for damaged credit is great. Many government agencies are beginning to take notice. Unfortunately, the consumer credit reporting industry is fighting efforts for consumer protection every step of the way.
Because we were working so much (my husband was a service director in the automotive industry), we had this mentality that we deserved to be rewarded. I was constantly spending on clothing and accessories; my husband and I would treat ourselves to dinners out and expensive vacations.
It's a fallacy that has become so engrained that its standard line -- get sick, get treated by an ER, get the tab picked up by someone else -- goes nearly undisputed by those on both the right and the left. That's simply not the way it works.
It is people who have decided not to buy coverage -- but who nevertheless get sick or injured and seek medical care when they do, even if they don't have the money to pay for it -- that make health insurance so expensive for the rest of us.