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National Briefing / NATIONWIDE

Medical debt balloons, study finds

August 20, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Americans are struggling to pay medical bills and accumulating medical debt at an increasing rate, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports independent research on healthcare.

As gas and food prices have soared and real estate values have fallen, the federal minimum wage is $3 an hour lower, in real terms, than it was 40 years ago, the study said.

"What is notable is how these problems are spreading up the income scale," said Sara Collins, assistant vice president of the foundation and one of the authors of the study.

The survey showed that even middle- and high-income groups are going without medical insurance at some time during the year.

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