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Study: 12 percent can afford to pay for hospital stays

Posted On Wed, May 11, 2011

A new report is revealing the financial hardship American families deal with when they don't have health insurance.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, few can afford to pay hospital bills out of pocket. The report found that approximately 12 percent of uninsured families have the capacity to pay the full amount of what the average hospital charges for treatment.

Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, said this study further emphasizes how serious an issue healthcare is in America.

"One of the most enduring myths in American healthcare is that people without health insurance can get care with little or no problem," said Sebelius. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When the uninsured cannot afford the care they receive, that cost must be absorbed by other payers."

Sebelius went on to say that the report indicates why President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act needs to be put into place for all Americans.

Obama's healthcare proposal would require everyone to purchase health insurance by 2014. It is being challenged by many lawmakers, however, who say that forcing people to pay for healthcare is unconstitutional.

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