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More Americans unable to pay medical bill
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A new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change showed a growing number of Americans are having difficulties paying their medical bills, according to hschange.com. Thursday.

The study found the number of Americans in families with difficulty paying medical bills reached as high as 19.4 percent in 2007, up from 15.1 percent in 2003.

More than 57 million Americans, or some 19 percent of the whole population, live in families struggling with medical bills. This meant an increase of 14 million people since 2003, the study added.

Of those in trouble, the vast majority -- 42.5 million -- had some form of health insurance coverage. About 2.2 million people with bill problems were in families that filed for bankruptcy as a result of medical debt, the study said.

The study did not take into account the effect of the more recent economic downturn, including the proposed 700 billion dollar bailout of the financial sector.

However, experts expect the recent financial woe will render health programs more difficult to carry out, particularly for those with less money or worse disease.

The center, a nonpartisan group based in Washington, D.C. conducted the study last year involving 18,000 people.

(Agencies via Xinhua September 25, 2008)

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