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Unpaid Medical Bills Bankrupt Woman Challenging Federal Health Insurance Mandate

March 9th, 2012 – Mary Brown, a self-employed Florida woman, was one of the lead plaintiff’s in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the 2010 Health Reform law’s requirement that everyone in American be required to have health insurance by January 1st, 2014.

“Brown “doesn’t have insurance. She doesn’t want to pay for it. And she doesn’t want the government to tell her she has to have it,” said Brown’s lawyer.

Ironically, it was just revealed that unpaid medical bills lead to Mary Brown and her husband declaring bankruptcy.

“This is so ironic. It just shows that all Americans inevitably have a need for healthcare. Somebody has paid for her healthcare costs. And she is now among the 62% whose personal bankruptcy was attributable in part to medical bills,” said Jane Perkins, a health law expert.

Proponents of the law argue that the requirement is justified because everyone, sooner or later, needs healthcare. Those who fail to have insurance are at high risk of running up bills they cannot pay, sticking the rest of society with the cost, they argue. Brown’s situation, they say, is a perfect example of exactly that kind of “uncompensated care that will ultimately be paid by others.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. This summer the US Supreme Court is expected to decide whether the government can require people to buy health insurance. Under the law, those who fail to buy insurance after 2014 could face a fine of up to $700.

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