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Freedom from Medical Bankruptcy

In 2007, Susanne LeClair’s doctor told her “The bad news: you’ve got cancer. Good news, it’s treatable.” Twelve years later, she got more news: The good news was that her cancer was in remission. The bad news was bankruptcy and chronic stress.

What is the number one reason Americans go bankrupt? A 2019 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that 66.5% of bankruptcies were due to medical bills. About 530,000 bankruptcies filed annually are because of debt accrued due to a medical illness. 


About 530,000 bankruptcies
filed annually are because of debt
accrued due to a medical illness. 


In addition to personal debt, the federal debt is now over $30 trillion dollars. Just paying for this debt costs individual Americans thousands of dollars in extra taxes.

What percent of the federal debt results from health care payments? In other words, what percent of the federal budget pays for medical expenses?

If you guessed 10%, the percentage of U.S. Gross Domestic Product that Americans paid for healthcare in 1984, you would be guessing too low.

If you guessed 20%, the percentage of US Gross Domestic Product that Americans pay for healthcare in 2022, you would also be guessing too low.

If you guess 30% or even 40%, your estimates would still be too low.

If you guessed fifty percent, you looked at the pie graph above. You would also be correct. Fully half of all dollars that the United States government spends – defense, social security, education, national parks, Air Force 1 – goes toward paying for health care. In other words, half of all the federal taxes that you pay are spent on medical care. And that is on top of your health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket co-pays and other expenses.

Can this possibly be true???  Is this another wild conspiracy theory? What are the facts?

The facts are from Dr. Marty Makary, from Johns Hopkins University and one of America’s most esteemed doctors and medical policy analysts. Makary writes at length about this in his book The Price We Pay. and this article in USA Today: We spend about half of our federal tax dollars on health care. That’s ridiculous.” 

On this page, you will learn about the high cost of medical care in the US, and how it’s hurting our health, curtailing freedom, and threatening our nation. You will also find ways that you can help reverse this trend.

In the following lively video, Dr. Makary talks with Dr. Zubin Damania and Dr. Vinay Prasadand about federal budget costs for health care and ways to fix the healthcare system.

The following pie chart and table illustrate Dr. Makary’s data. The pie chart shows expenditures of the US federal government in 2019 followed by a table listing the percentage of this budget that goes to health care.

2019 US Federal Budget

Below are percentages of the Federal Budget that pay for health care. Together, these add up to over 50% of the US budget.

28%Health Care – Medicare & Medicaid
12.5%Social Security (seniors spend 50% of Social Security on Health Care)
2.4%Defense spends 15% of budget on Health care
4.5%Veterans Administration
1.2%Health care for federal workers
3.5%for Interest on Debt (50% of debt at 7% of budget)
52.1%Total Federal Government Payments to Health Care

Private Costs

If tax-mandated federal payments weren’t enough, the above doesn’t even include your out-of-pocket costs and those of your employer. In 2020, insurance for the average American family of four cost $21,342. Employers picked up 73% of that cost, while employees contributed the rest.

No wonder Americans are sick of paying for sick. American workers spend 55% more on insurance premiums than they did a decade ago.  Over the same time, their deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses are going up. In addition to taxes and insurance, many Americans spend approximately $3,000 each year on services like chiropractic and massage, that are not covered.

In addition to federal taxes, insurance, and out-of-pocket payments, Americans also pay for the health care of teachers and state and local workers.

High Cost – Low Outcome

Are you astonished to learn how much federal money is spent on health care?

While the intention of this vast expense may be to give us increased health freedom, sadly, it does the opposite. Worse, this huge spending profoundly bloats our debt, inflates prices, hurts our health, grows our government, limits our choices, and strangles our freedoms.   As the largest industry in the US, Big Medicine’s deep pockets spend billions on propaganda (“these new opioids are not addictive”) and on censoring useful health information (Youtube removed 1 million videos about COVID, including those that mentioned early treatments using Vitamin C, D, and zinc for bolstering the immune system).

Propaganda and censorship may explain why most Americans do not realize that vaccine manufacturers have no liability for their products. If you get sick from a lollipop, then the lollipop maker must pay for your illness. But if you get sick from a mandatory vaccine, then the vaccine maker doesn’t even blink.  


If the US healthcare system delivered the world’s healthiest, longest-lived, happiest, and most creative people on the planet, then the exorbitant costs might be worth it. Sadly, this is not the case.

Instead, the US spends the most per capita, with the lowest life expectancy of any industrialized country

Data from Our World In Data – (Note that the above graph does not show that life expectancy in the US is shortened due to deaths of despair, that is, deaths due to suicide, drug overdoses, and alcohol abuse.)

The US healthcare system delivers mediocre results for way too much of our money.

Instead, the outcome is low compared to most other industrialized nations.

Big Medical

Medicine is the largest industry in the United States. Large hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies report huge profit margins, even as nurses’ and doctors’ wages stagnate.

The US spends far more on health per person than any other country in the world.

Sadly, an estimated 30% of our bloated $4 trillion health care spending is wasted on services and drugs that have nothing to do with improving health, according to Dr. Makary. 

Crony Capitalism?

Did you know that the Federal Government paid Colorado hospitals $236 million for COVID-19? But this money only went to some hospitals and not to others.  And did you know that Boulder Community Health and none of the hospitals in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, or Grand Junction received money? Why did some hospitals get federal dollars and others did not?

While $236 million is small change for the Federal Government, it is still a lot of money for Americans.


We need immediate solutions. Following are suggestions to liberate Americans from medical bankruptcy that threatens individuals and our country.

Educate Yourself

Fix it, don’t fund it

We can get better healthcare with a much lower price tag. US national healthcare expenditure reached $4.1 trillion in 2020, or $12,530 per person, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. More money will not cure us. Prevention, early treatment, ending loopholes, and transparency will cure us.

Prevention and Early Treatment

Two of the best ways to fix health care are prevention and early treatment. Our public health officials should be in the business of promoting prevention, not in pushing untested, experimental drugs. They should also be advocates for early treatment rather than expensive protocols and drugs at the late stages of disease.

Clarity: “You Pay for This”

Be clear when you talk about health care spending. Rather than saying “insurance” paid for your bills, instead say “I and my fellow Americans pay for this with high taxes, overblown insurance premiums, and unnecessary treatments.”

Demand Transparency – End Secret Pricing

End Kickbacks and Legal Loopholes

Demand an end to legal immunity for vaccine manufacturers.

Speak up!

Your voice as a patient and/or health care worker needs to be heard.

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