To the editor: The ability of consumers to manage medical debt on their own is important, but the root cause of the medical debt in this country is the exorbitant cost of healthcare. ("How to escape the medical care debt trap," Op-Ed, July 22)
While consumers have the luxury of shopping around for the best price on a home or a car, they do not have the luxury of finding the best price for healthcare. A lack of government oversight leads individual hospitals to charge whatever they want for treatment and services.
When faced with emergency situations and life-threatening illnesses, consumers are not in the position to refuse care. They are forced to pay the prices determined by hospital charge masters. This vulnerability is why consumers take on debt to save their own lives or the lives of their children.
Medical debt will not go away until the overarching cost of healthcare is addressed.