The American Bankruptcy Bill - Stay bankrupted

First they made sure that medicines cost the earth. Then they made sure that you need insurance before you can get health benefits. Then they made sure that you are completely surrounded - rocket high medical bills and insurance not enough to cover it. And now they are making sure that when you get bankrupted, it is impossible to get bankruptcy protection. Hmm .. social security?

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0310-22.htm

U.S. senators are about to pass a bankruptcy bill so hostile to ordinary American families that it could only have come about in a place as corrupt, cynical and unmoored from reality as Washington, D.C.

So what does the bill do? It makes it harder for average people to file for bankruptcy protection; it makes it easier for landlords to evict a bankrupt tenant; it endangers child support payments by giving a wider array of creditors a shot at post-bankruptcy income; it allows millionaires to shield an unlimited amount of value in homes and asset protection trusts; it makes it more difficult for small businesses to reorganize, while opening new loopholes for the Enrons of the world; it allows creditors to provide misleading information; and it does nothing to rein in lending abuses that frequently turn manageable debt into unmanageable crises. Even in failure, ordinary Americans do not get a level playing field.

Indeed, a recent study by Harvard University found that half of last year’s 1.6 million bankruptcies were the result of crushing medical bills. Put another way: Every 30 seconds, someone in this country files for bankruptcy in the wake of a serious illness. How’s that for a shocking stat? Here’s another: Three-quarters of the so-called medically bankrupt had health insurance. It just wasn’t enough to cover the dramatic rise in health-care costs.

But instead of adapting to this harsh new reality, where hardworking, college-educated, middle-class folks can be financially destroyed by a sudden illness, the Senate is about to approve a one-size-fits-all law that treats a family man who has sunk into debt because of a heart attack the same as a con artist who maxes out his MasterCard, then refuses to pay up.

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