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Passage of American Health Care Act brings more medical debt

Last month, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, which if it becomes law, would repreal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," as it is commonly called.

This week, the Congressional Budget Office released its report, indicating that under the proposed AHCA, by next year, 14 million Americans would lack health insurance. That number is projected to climb to 51 million by 2026 for those younger than 65.

The bill also proposes a trillion dollars in cuts to programs that assist Americans with finding health care coverage, like the $834 billion slashed from the Medicaid program over a 10-year period.

While it remains unlikely to pass with Senate approval in its present form, the bill sends troubling signals to consumers struggling now to keep up with their family's health care costs. If this bill or one that is closely related becomes law, medical debts will begin to soar, leaving patients trapped in a quagmire of debt.

What steps can you take to avoid disaster?

A 19th century politician, newspaper editor and attorney, Gideon John Tucker, once famously wrote in a legal decision, "No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session." Congress will do what it does, and our response is by our votes.

However, if you are already struggling with medical debt, now may be your window of opportunity to take charge of the situation. Often, consumers find that debt relief in the form of Chapter 7 bankruptcy rids them of unmanageable medical debts they could never pay.

Source: The Huffington Post, "23 Million Fewer Americans Would Have Health Coverage Under Obamacare Repeal Plan, Budget Office Confirms," Jonathan Cohn , Jeffrey Young, May 24, 2017

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