In our fervent public debates about the broken U.S. healthcare system, we have overlooked the devastating impacts of America's urgent medical debt crisis. Everybody knows somebody or themselves who struggles with medical bills. The time has come to bring medical debt into the center of our national conversation about healthcare.
End Medical Debt, written by three industry insiders, is the first book to bypass political posturing to look clearly and realistically at the actual causes and possible cures for more than $1 trillion in unpayable medical debt in America. Medical debt causes hardships for individuals, families, communities, and the nation as a whole.
Voicing decades of experience in debt collections, debt buying and healthcare management, the authors of End Medical Debt bring deep expertise to the problem of medical debt. Jerry Ashton has more than 40 years of experience in the credit and collections industry. Robert Goff recently retired from 40 years in healthcare administration management. Craig Antico has 30 years in collections, debt buying, outsourcing, and consulting.
Drawing on their industry knowledge, the authors lay bare the inner workings of our healthcare system. They show how it produces medical bills that people cannot ever pay, including insured middle-class people who think they are covered. They tell how the early hospitals that focused on patient health evolved into today's healthcare conglomerates focused on patient revenues. They dissect the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") to show where theory and reality do not match. They expose how our veterans get laden with medical debt that effectively tells them, "No thank you for your service."
The authors together began RIP Medical Debt, the charity made famous by John Oliver on HBO for abolishing $15 million in medical debt. Since 2014, RIP has purchased and forgiven $500 million medical debt. RIP is on track to abolish $1 billion in medical debt by 2020.
Expressing the authors" divergent progressive, moderate and conservative viewpoints, End Medical Debt offers pragmatic insights on such diverse solutions as promoting healthier behaviors to reduce costs and debt, imposing price controls on drugs and care services, reforming health insurance, making Medicaid an opt-out program for all who qualify, fixing the ACA, adding a Medicare Option to the ACA for people over age 50, or enacting "Medicare for All" single-payer universal healthcare.
The authors disagree on the solutions, but they all agree on their one simple act of charity -- buying and forgiving medical debt. Debt forgiveness is necessary but not sufficient, at best it's an interim solution for medical debt until we can agree on a better financial structure for the broken U.S. healthcare system. End Medical Debt is a major step in that direction.