END MEDICAL DEBT
Curing America’s $1 Trillion
Unpayable Healthcare Debt
End Medical Debt, written by industry insiders Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico (founders of the charity RIP Medical Debt), realistically and clearly looks at the causes and possible cures for more than $1 trillion in unpayable medical debt in America. Our national conversation on healthcare can no longer ignore the urgent medical debt crisis.
In our fervent public debates about the broken U.S. healthcare system, we have overlooked the devastating impacts of America’s urgent medical debt crisis. Everybody knows somebody struggling with their medical medical bills.
End Medical Debt, written by three industry insiders, is the first book to bypass political posturing to look clearly and realistically at the actual causes and possible cures for more than $1 trillion in unpayable medical debt in America. Medical debt causes hardships for individuals, families, communities, and the nation as a whole.
Voicing decades of experience in debt collections, debt buying and healthcare management, the authors of End Medical Debt bring deep expertise to the problem of medical debt. Jerry Ashton has more than 40 years of experience in the credit and collections industry. Robert Goff recently retired from 40 years in healthcare administration management. Craig Antico has 30 years in collections, debt buying, outsourcing, and consulting.
Drawing on their industry knowledge, the authors lay bare the inner workings of our healthcare system. They show how it produces medical bills that people cannot ever pay, including insured middle-class people who think they are covered. They tell how the early hospitals that focused on patient health evolved into today’s healthcare conglomerates focused on patient revenues. They dissect the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) to show where theory and reality do not match. They expose how our veterans get laden with medical debt that effectively tells them, “No thank you for your service.”
The authors together began RIP Medical Debt, the charity made famous in 2016 by John Oliver on HBO for abolishing $15 million in medical debt. Since 2014, RIP has purchased and forgiven more than $500 million in medical debt. RIP is on track to abolish $1 billion in medical debt by 2020.
Expressing the authors’ divergent progressive, moderate and conservative viewpoints, End Medical Debt offers pragmatic insights on such diverse solutions as promoting healthier behaviors to reduce costs and debt (personal responsibility), imposing price controls on drugs and care services, reforming health insurance, fixing the Affordable Care Act, making Medicaid an opt-out program for all who qualify, adding a Medicare Option to the ACA for people over age 50, or enacting “Medicare for All” for single-payer universal healthcare.
The authors disagree on the solutions, but they all agree on their one simple act of charity — buying and forgiving medical debt. Debt forgiveness is necessary but not sufficient. At best, it’s an interim solution for medical debt until we can agree on a better financial structure for the broken U.S. healthcare system. End Medical Debt is a major step in that direction.
“End Medical Debt confronts an important, sad truth: No one asks to be sick. It’s hard enough being poor; it’s hard enough being sick. But being poor and sick becomes a death sentence for some, a life sentence of indentured servitude for others. The bills are almost beyond belief. I went into the hospital overnight with chest pains, and the hospital bill was $25,000. It’s time to lift this yoke off the necks of some of the most vulnerable and defenseless members of society, and that is precisely what End Medical Debtdoes.”
— Alan Grayson, Former U.S. Congressman (D-FL)
End Medical Debt does more than describe the unsustainable structure of our current health care system. The book demonstrates what was always the solution: People helping people, voluntarily and without coercion. The current healthcare system has created a debt-enslaved class with few options. Necessity will produce many solutions, but in the meantime, End Medical Debt is offering hope from those willing and able to pay forward their success. Humanity at its best.”
— Ernest Hancock, Publisher, FreedomsPhoenix Talk Show Host, “Declare Your Independence”
“End Medical Debt explains that among all the developed countries, only Americans risk the probability that medical treatment will be financially inaccessible or that a family will be made destitute from a serious injury or disease. The sacrifices families make for medical care of loved ones is heartbreaking. The experience and wisdom of authors Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico have resulted in the system presented in their exciting new book. Their charity, RIP Medical Debt, may well help us to turn the corner on this major problem facing quality medical care in America.”
—Nancy A. Niparko, M.D., Attending Neurologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“While care providers fight to make ends meet and corporate interests seek out profit margins everywhere, politicians struggle to strike a balance as more and more Americans are compounding their serious health issues with unprecedented and unmanageable medical debt. Meanwhile, a small self-appointed group of experts from the world of health care finance are seeking solutions for consumers, providers and a broken system. Where there are no acceptable answers yet, people are creating them. Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico are putting lifetimes of experience to work in End Medical Debt to spread the word that medical debt is a personal and national crisis. More so, they are offering answers that are gaining national attention.”
— Kevin A. Cahill, New York State Assemblyman; Chair, Assembly Committee on Insurance; Member, Assembly Committee on Health
“End Medical Debt is exactly what is needed to jumpstart the much-needed national discussion about our current dysfunctional for-profit health care system, and what to do about it, so patients like me don’t have to experience the financial and personal hardships caused by medical debt. We are a forgotten, disposable, invisible universe of people. There are millions of us. This book explains with passion and honesty the nightmare of medical debt”
— Joel R. Segal, Former senior legislative assistant, U.S. Congress, 2000-2019, Co-author, HR 676: “Expanded and Improved Medicare For All”
“America spends more on medical care than any other country, and the resulting medical debt is our nation’s top reason for bankruptcy and financial ruin. I’ve seen the impact. End Medical Debt offers clear answers on what people can do for themselves and society to end this scourge.”
— Ed Asner, Actor, Activist