I think I have outrage fatigue. In the process of building this site I’ve poured through article after article and read countless staggering facts and figures surrounding medical debt in this country in the past week. Spoiler alert: None of it’s good.
So it was kind of refreshing when I saw a post today on Reddit titled, “Over 500 Canadian doctors protest raises, say they’re being paid too much”. I’ll admit, it wasn’t really relevant to the research -being about doctors in Canada where they have single-payer Healthcare and no concept of medical debt- but I felt I owed myself a little break with some positivity. And it worked! It was a great article that reaffirmed my somewhat wavering faith in humanity after wading through a sea of depressing shit. Doctors giving up pay raises to put money back into the medical care system and provide better (free) healthcare to their patients. Who can’t get behind that idea?
There was even an inspiring quote straight from the Canadian government web site…Canada offers “universal coverage for medically necessary health care services provided on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay”. Sure, it’s sad that the bar is that low and the Canadian healthcare system isn’t perfect, but it’s a system at least. Systems function. It’s literally what systems are designed to do.
My slap back into reality came from the article that immediately followed it titled, “How lenders are turning low-level courts into Dickensian debt collection mills”. It covered the millions of lawsuits filed in state and local courts each year where collection agencies have a 95% win rate. Thousands of arrest warrants being issued over debts as low as $30. A woman in Indiana who wasn’t even aware of her court date (due to dealing with the minor inconvenience of having thyroid cancer) and was arrested for missing it.
And there it is, i’m pissed off again.
But then I had a weird realization. It’s good to be angry about these things. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. If we lose hope it normalizes these issues and further silences the already barely audible voices of the millions of people impacted every year by medical debt. So with that i’ll keep reading, researching and staying angry so I can look forward to a day where I get to read the article about how medical debt in America is a distant memory in our history.
Life After Debt is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the lives of Americans by purchasing and then forgiving medical debt. Thank you for your support!