States had the option to opt into the expansion of Medicaid offered by the Affordable Care Act or not. Texas decided not to do so. It appears that millions of dollars in medical debt across the state was the result.
According to recent data compiled by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, approximately 23 percent of white residents received calls from medical debt collectors while around 29 percent of those in the same situation were of color. This disproportionate amount of debt is blamed on the fact that many of families of color could not afford or did not have access to medical insurance. Latinos in the state were also in the same position.
Unlike other states, Texas did not take any other steps to help alleviate this burden on lower income families. Meanwhile, numerous industries across the country have changed over to only offering part-time work, which means employers do not have to offer health insurance. This perfect storm left many families with overwhelming medical debt they may never be able to pay. Data shows that some people decided to try to pay their medical bills instead of paying for essentials such as food and rent.
In the absence of any changes in the law that could help prevent this from happening in the future, individuals may be able to do something to help themselves. Filing for bankruptcy could alleviate their medical debt and allow them a fresh financial start and the ability to pay for necessities once again. For those who would consider this avenue, it may help to discuss it with an experienced attorney before moving forward.