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The Cause of Half of All U.S. Bankruptcies

According to Reuters News Service, half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills. Most of the people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance. The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, estimated that medical bankruptcies affect about two million people every year, if both debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children, are counted.

"Our study is frightening. Unless you're Bill Gates you're just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," said Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who led the study. "Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick. Health insurance offered little protection."

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