Yin on Strategies to Reduce Medical Debt

Wesley Yin, associate professor of public policy and management, spoke to the podcast Tradeoffs about how Americans can reduce their medical debt. Currently, about 100 million Americans have amassed more than $140 billion in medical debt. Yin explained that simply forgiving a person’s medical bills is a short-term solution to the greater problem of accumulating medical debt. When a hospital erases debt and temporarily reduces service costs, patients became more likely to receive care; however, within six months, they are likely to go back to getting less care as their debt again piles up, a study by Yin has found. Yin and his colleagues also published a paper in JAMA showing that states with Medicaid had far less medical debt than those without it. “In the states that expanded Medicaid, the amount of debt basically was halved. And in places that didn’t, it was essentially unchanged,” he told the podcast in a segment beginning at minute 10.


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