The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Hospitals Suing Patients for Debt

Sep 30, 2019

The University of Virginia (UVA) Health System has been taking extreme measures to collect unpaid bills from patients, suing an average of 6,000 patients each year. Judges have allowed the hospital system to garnish wages and put liens on homes and cars, forcing families into bankruptcy.

UVA Health is not alone in this practice, only more extreme. This spring the Johns Hopkins Hospital System in Maryland was reported to have sued thousands of patients in a decade—mostly its own employees, Maryland state workers, and Walmart and Amazon workers. In the five years before the last recession, nearly 50 hospitals in Maryland sued their own patients a total of over 100,000 times to collect 100 million dollars in unpaid medical bills.

The problem is that so many people can’t pay as much as hospitals charge for services, whether they have insurance or not. Interest then blows up unpaid bills.

Hospitals charge a lot because they are run to make money first and foremost, whether they are officially non-profit or not.

The capitalist system grinds up sick people for the benefit of executives and investors.