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Headlines On Deadline . . .

True or false: Nearly half of all personal bankruptcies are caused by expensive illnesses. Answer: Depends on whom you ask. A much-reported study by David Himmelstein, MD, of Harvard Medical School that says that medical bills are the cause, at least in part, of 46 percent of bankruptcies, is being challenged. A Health Affairs article that reanalyzes the data says that really only about 17 percent of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. Of course, the cliché police may arrest us if we suggest — which we don't, because we don't have the data — that the truth may rest somewhere in the middle. We will, however, point out two things. Himmelstein is a long-time critic of managed care, and the study that dispute's Himmelstein's work was funded by America's Health Insurance Plans.

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