Yin on the Burden of Medical Debt in L.A.

Wesley Yin, associate professor of public policy at UCLA Luskin, spoke to LAist about the burdens of medical debt. In Los Angeles County, 1 in 10 adults are currently in debt due to medical care. Yin’s research shows that when hospitals wipe out patients’ debt and temporarily reduce how much they pay in co-pays, they are more likely to fill prescriptions and utilize health care resources. Yet within six months, even those whose debt was forgiven had returned to getting less care due to high costs. “Getting rid of medical debt may help in the short term, but a one-time cancellation doesn’t impact the future debts they may incur,” Yin said. He added that medical credit cards and other loans for medical bills can have high interest rates that deepen debt and threaten patients’ financial security.


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