Morally bankrupt

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I cannot address all the patently untrue things that McCain and Obama are saying, but I must protest when Barack Obama claims that people are going bankrupt because of health expenses.  There is no evidence to suggest that this is a widespread phenomenon.  The Eliabeth Warren study purporting to show that amazing numbers of bankruptcies were caused by medical problems was, to put it politely, garbage; she broadened the definition of a "medical bankruptcy" far beyond that used by the bankrupts themselves, including things like gambling problems.  The overwhelming causes of bankruptcy are divorce and job loss; even the medical bankruptcies are, the experts say, a problem of income loss rather than medical bills.  Hospitals and doctors hate to sue people for large bills, because it always seems to end up on local television.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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