In the first half of 2011, one-third of U.S. families either couldnt pay medical bills in full when due or couldnt pay them at all.
The high cost of health care adds strain in many American households. One snapshot survey from the first half of 2011 showed one-third of U.S. families spreading out medical payments over time or even giving up entirely. 10.5 percent had given up on ever being able to pay a medical bill.
The burden was heaviest on near-poor families: those earning too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to cover their medical bills or buy health insurance. The Affordable Care Act sought to address this gap by requiring the expansion of Medicaid, but the Supreme Court struck down that part of the law in 2012.
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