Medical Debt Is Hurting the Illinois Economy

Robert Reed writes in the Chicago Tribune:

When it comes to not paying its medical and insurance bills on time or in full, one of the biggest and baddest deadbeats around is our own state of Illinois. It’s an acute and escalating problem, one that threatens the fiscal health of all types of state and area medical care providers and their communities. Left unchecked, it will become a financial infection that leads to extensive service disruptions, job losses and serious consequences for patient care.

Right now, Illinois owes a whopping $2.5 billion in medical bills to the state’s hospitals and managed care providers that help fund locally based clinics, mental health groups and home care providers, according to the state comptroller’s office. In addition, Illinois is liable for a projected $4.6 billion in group medical insurance claims for state workers, retirees and their dependents, state data show.

Compounding the issue is that Illinois is adding every day to an estimated $11 billion-plus in unpaid bills of all sorts, courtesy of the state legislature which has failed to pass a budget for over two years running.

But it’s massive medical debt that is growing at an unprecedented rate and hurting every citizen of the state.