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Allyson and Marcus Ward of Chicago moved across the country to be closer to family after the premature birth of their twins, Milo (left) and Theo, left them with about $80,000 in medical debt.

100 million people in America are saddled with medical debt

The U.S. health system now produces debt on a mass scale, a new investigation shows. Patients across the country face gut-wrenching sacrifices.

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In debt to hospitals, credit cards and relatives

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Debts large and small

Edy Adams of Austin, Texas, was pursued for years by debt collectors over a $130.68 bill for a medical exam she received after being sexually assaulted in Chicago.
Sherrie Foy of Moneta, Virginia, had her retirement plans upended when surgery to remove her colon left her with more than $800,000 in bills and forced her and her husband, Michael, into bankruptcy.

Medical debt’s wide reach

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Barriers to care

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Washington’s role

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Elizabeth and Nick Woodruff of Binghamton, New York, were sued for nearly $10,000 by the hospital where Nick’s infected leg was amputated.
Samantha and Ariane Buck of Peoria, Arizona, say they were turned away from a physician’s office because of money they owed, forcing them to seek emergency care. They estimate they now have about $50,000 in medical debt.

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