Are my clients healthier than the norm? I don't think so, but almost all of them receive their primary health care through Medicare, Medi-Cal (a state-specific variant of the federal Medicaid program), or employment-related benefit programs. To be sure, some of them have gone without while others have been left with residual debts due to co-payments and the occasional uncovered treatment or prescription -- a relatively insignificant part of their overall debt load. There are, of course, exceptions to this -- an uncovered trip to the emergency room with a $15,000 price tag or the like has provided the bankruptcy filing trigger more than a few times.
So, if I were issuing a report based on my cases, I could honestly say that health care debts have been part of the mix, but I wouldn't want to insinuate that medical costs were the most important factor. Of course, since I only serve California debtors, their experience may be way different than that attributed to bankruptcy debtors in other states -- and the Harvard poll may be perfectly accurate outside of the Golden State.
Still, the timing of the report -- derived as it is from a poll taken some two years earlier -- is suspicious given the fact that the national health care debate is about to begin in Congress. It makes me suspect that the poll is being reported in a manner to serve an agenda -- one that is tilted towards significant health care reform. Simply put, someone is wagging the dog, but don't get me wrong. That's my agenda too. I just wish that polls and the statistics that are drawn from them were not so consistently used to manipulate public opinion in a particular direction rather than to tell "just the facts, ma'am" and let those who read them draw what conclusions they will. Jeez, I know, my naïveté runneth over.