Just Economy Conference – May 5, 2021
Nationally, healthcare access and cost are growing concerns for many Americans. In 2019, 28.9 million people were uninsured, an increase of more than one million from 2018. Moreover, an October 2020 report estimated that at least 7.7 million workers lost jobs with employer-based insurance, meaning that approximately 14.6 million individuals lost health insurance amidst the global pandemic. Nearly 1 in 6 Americans was contacted by a debt collector in the past year over a health care bill.
Medical debt disproportionately affects patients from low-income households and communities of color. However, 36.2% of African Americans had medical debts compared with 22.9% of Whites and a higher total number of debts overall (2.17 vs 1.92). They were also more likely than Whites to be adjudicated for the same debt.
This session will examine medical debt and the disparate impact of this debt on White and Black communities, as well as policies, programs and campaigns at the national and state level to improve the health and wealth of low-income and working families.