The US is the only wealthy nation in which people go bankrupt because of illness and medical costs. More than 62% of personal bankruptcies are due to medical debt and nearly 80% of those who went bankrupt had health insurance. But people are working to change that. Thomas Gokey is a member of Strike Debt Rolling Jubilee that is raising funds to erase debt. More than that, they provide tools so that people can understand how debt works in their communities and how to resist it. Dr. Steffie Woolhandler is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program and is author of several leading studies on medical bankruptcy. She explains why medical debt occurs, the impact of medical costs on health and how the national health law will affect medical debt and bankruptcy. She advocates for a national single payer health program.
Articles and websites:
Access to Health Care, Basic Necessities, a Matter of Life or Debt by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
The Debt Resistor’s Operations Manual by Strike Debt
Medical Debt Report by Strike Debt
Thomas Gokey is a visual artist and an adjunct professor at Syracuse University. He is currently a PhD candidate at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee Switzerland. He has a Masters of Fine Arts in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent projects include transforming his debt from art school into a work of art made out of the exact same amount of real money which he is selling for the price of his tuition debt; a collective farm on public land in upstate New York, “Gutenbaaaaarg” a pirate printing press, and the Rolling Jubilee, a collective project with Strike Debt. Visit StrikeDebt.org.
Dr. Steffie Woolhandler is a primary care physician and professor of public health and medicine at CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. She is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program and author of several leading academic studies on medical bankruptcy. Visit PNHP.org.