Regarding the disagreement between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over whether to use a forthcoming spending package to strengthen the Affordable Care Act or expand Medicare eligibility and coverage, I’d like to highlight a relevant article.

In 2019, in the American Journal of Public Health, a group of researchers, with a common interest in bankruptcy, published the results of their study. They found that medical bankruptcy caused by medical bills and related loss of income was still a serious problem in America and pointed out that the ACA, though it had implemented helpful provisions, had nonetheless not altered the proportion of medical-related bankruptcies in America.

Indeed, medical bankruptcy surpassed all other types of bankruptcies, including that caused by house foreclosure and living beyond one’s means. Researchers cited reasons, including the outpacing of medical costs over incomes, unpredictable medical costs and loss of income because of illness or injury; additionally, 29 million remained uninsured. 

Our nation is not prepared to meet its health-care challenges in the 21st century. We spend more on health care per capita than any other nation yet our quality of life is no better. We endure illness or injury while beset by the burden of medical bills and the risk of bankruptcy.

We urgently need universal, comprehensive health care.

Nancy J. Herin, Gaithersburg