Blog: A perfect racket – VTDigger

In the letter “Why expect legislative ‘health’ committees to deal with health care crisis?” Lodiza LePore of Bennington wrote that “The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation reportedly says there are around 30,000 Vermonters with medical debt in collections and tens of thousands more who are paying down medical bills that have not reached collections.”

To have so many in debt is a triumph of America’s health care capitalism. Nationally, the number of Americans mired in medical debt is about 100 million. It ensures an eternal stream of positive cash flow to our medical-industrial-political complex and ties these hapless Americans, around 1 in 4 of our population, to indentured servitude in the service of this debt with interest for decades. It’s a perfect racket.

Medical debt is a polite euphemism for ransoming your life. I know. I once had to decide whether my life was worth the thousands of dollars in incurred debt and struggling for years afterward to serve that debt. Was my life worth ransoming like that or would I be better off in the grave, beyond the hospital billing departments and collection agents? Those were my only “choices.”

Those thousands of indebted Vermonters and 100 million Americans also faced this dilemma. The moral and political question for our legislators, both newly elected and veteran, in Washington D.C., and in our state capitals, who could end this peonage if they so desired, is exactly why do we persist with it?

Walter Carpenter


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