Sunday, March 06, 2005

This is a world super-power?

Voted into the Hall of Shame this week are the Senate Republicans, who jammed through a bankruptcy "reform" bill while defeating amendments offered by the Democrats which would have protected the homes of senior citizens and others of the 50% of bankruptcy filers driven over the edge by medical bills, all while maintaining the "Millionaire's Exemption," which allows the wealthy to place their property in an assets protection trust which cannot be touched by the bankruptcy court.

From the Detroit Free Press:
Don't add to the costly ordeal of serious illness
March 1, 2005
Changes being sought in the bankruptcy code look even more ridiculous after last month's release of a study led by Harvard legal and medical professors. The research shows that fully half of those who file for bankruptcy hit the financial wall because of medical problems. Scary as it is, many Americans are just one serious illness away from financial ruin.

That pretty much punctures the credit-card industry's assertion that it's too easy to file for bankruptcy and that too many people use it as a way to run up debt and then dodge their duty.
Among those struggling with medical problems, the Harvard study found, loss of income due to sickness or injury was as big a problem as mounting medical bills, and that affected care-givers as much as those suffering from the injury or illness. Most of the people in this category were middle class and three-quarters of them had health insurance when their health problems began.

Scarcely a week passes without a news story in print or on TV about a locally organized fund raiser for some resident who, even though insured, cannot summon enough cash to pay the deposit for cancer treatment for herself or her child. They are reduced to depending upon the kindness of strangers via coffee cans in convenience stores to obtain medical treatment. Now, thanks to the credit card industry lackeys in Congress, they will have no hope of having those debts forgiven. They will receive less consideration and mercy than the millionaire from Florida or Texas who ran up hundreds of thousands in debt flying to Paris and collecting yachts and mansions. Medical care is now deemed a luxury greater than furs and diamonds and oil wells.

At the same time, unnoticed by the rest of the industrialized world, on January 4, 2005 (page 5 below the fold in my local paper) Mexican President Vicente Fox announced that all Mexican children with cancer will receive fee treatment as long as they need it. Perhaps this bankruptcy atrocity will drive immigration in the other direction.

Now you tell me--which country should be considered a world leader?


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