Uninsured Americans stick hospitals with as much as $49 billion in unpaid bills a year, according to a government study released Tuesday as the Obama administration prepared to defend its healthcare law in court.
The study by the Department of Health and Human Services found that, on average, uninsured families pay only about 12 percent of their full hospital bills.
Even families with incomes above 40 percent of the poverty level — around $88,000 a year — pay just 37 percent of their hospital tabs, the study said, according to USA Today
Department officials told the paper the study points to the need for providing health insurance for everything.
"This report shows that even higher-income, uninsured families are struggling to meet the high costs of health care," Sherry Glied, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at Health and Human Services, said in a statement. "No family should bear the burden of being one illness or accident away from bankruptcy."
The study was released as the administration defends President Barack Obama’s heatlhcare law in a federal appeals court in Virginia. Republicans have vowed to repeal Obamacare.
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