The next big challenge, Altman says, is to stop people from going broke when they get sick.
Shots: NPR Health News, March 11, 2016
For Barbara Radley, there is "before" and "after." Before was when she could work — moving furniture, and driving a long-haul truck.
"It was nothing for me to throw a couch on my back and carry it up a flight of stairs," says the 58-year-old from Oshkosh, Wis.
Then there's after. After she herniated five disks in her back. And after, she says, her blood pressure medicine destroyed her pancreas.
Now Radley is disabled, suffering from diabetes, liver failure and scleroderma.
And she is bankrupt.
"Well, the medical bills were just piling up," Radley tells Shots. "We couldn't handle it. We just couldn't keep up."
Radley is among the 26 percent of people in a recent poll who say health care expenses have taken a serious toll on family finances. The poll, conducted by NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, shows that even people with medical insurance are still struggling to pay medical bills.