Edited by Judah Freed
In our fervent public debates about the broken U.S. healthcare system, we have overlooked the devastating impacts of America’s urgent medical debt crisis. The time has come to bring medical debt into the center of our national conversation about healthcare.
End Medical Debt, written by three industry insiders, is the first book to bypass political posturing to look clearly and realistically at the actual causes and possible cures for more than $1 trillion in unpayable medical debt in America. Medical debt causes hardships for individuals, families, communities, and the nation as a whole.
Voicing decades of experience in debt collections, debt buying and healthcare management, the authors of End Medical Debt bring deep expertise to the problem of medical debt. Jerry Ashton has more than 40 years of the credit and collections industry. Robert Goff retired from 40 years in healthcare administration management. Craig Antico has 30 years in collections, debt buying, outsourcing, and consulting.
The authors together began RIP Medical Debt, the charity made famous by John Oliver on HBO for abolishing $15 million in medical debt. Since 2014, RIP has purchased and forgiven more than $750 million on medical debt. The charity today IS on track to abolish $1 Billion in medical debt by 2020.
The authors lay bare the inner workings of our broken healthcare system. They show what produces medical bills that people cannot ever pay, including insured middle-class people who think they are covered. They tell how charity hospitals evolved into healthcare conglomerates. They tell how mutual benevolent societies evolved into vast insurance empires. They dissect the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) to show where theory and reality do not match. They expose how veterans get burdened with medical debt that tells them, “No thank you for your service.”
End Medical Debt features practical tips for dealing with your personal medical debt.
Voicing the authors’ diverse progressive, moderate and conservative viewpoints, End Medical Debt offers pragmatic insights on such diverse solutions as promoting healthier behaviors to reduce costs and debt, imposing price controls on drugs and medical services, reforming health insurance, making Medicaid an opt-out program for all who qualify, fixing the ACA, adding a Medicare Option to the ACA for people over age 50, or enacting “Medicare for All” single-payer universal healthcare. These major proposed solutions are considered for practical viability. The book concludes with the idea of an American Medical Debt Commission reporting to Congress on the national medical debt crisis.
The authors disagree on the solutions, but they all agree on their one simple act of charity — buying and forgiving medical debt. Debt forgiveness is a necessary but not sufficient interim solution for medical debt. Ultimately, we need to agree on a better financial structure for the broken U.S. healthcare system. End Medical Debtis a major step in that direction.
Where to Buy END MEDICAL DEBT
Hoku House pays the authors 85 percent of all net revenues for End Medical Debt (opposite of most book deals where authors get a pittance). The authors donate ALL book royalties to medical debt forgiveness.
Each book sold abolishes about $500 in medical debt.
Contact Hoku House directly for bulk orders.
The Patient, The Doctor and The Bill Collector: A Medical Debt Survival Guide
by Robert Goff and Jerry Ashton, published in 2016 by Hoku House, an Indie Book Awards finalist. This book led to RIP Medical Debt gaining attention on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” The rest is history, part of which is told in End Medical Debt.
REVIEWS OF END MEDICAL DEBT
“End Medical Debt confronts an important, sad truth: No one asks to be sick. It’s hard enough being poor; it’s hard enough being sick. But being poor and sick becomes a death sentence for some, a life sentence of indentured servitude for others. The bills are almost beyond belief. I went into the hospital overnight with chest pains, and the hospital bill was $25,000. It’s time to lift this yoke off the necks of some of the most vulnerable and defenseless members of society, and that is precisely what End Medical Debt does.”
— Alan Grayson, Former U.S. Congressman (D-FL)
“End Medical Debtdoes more than describe the unsustainable structure of our current health care system. The book demonstrates what was always the solution: People helping people, voluntarily and without coercion. The current healthcare system has created a debt-enslaved class with few options. Necessity will produce many solutions, but in the meantime, End Medical Debtis offering hope from those willing and able to pay forward their success. Humanity at its best.”
— Ernest Hancock, Publisher, FreedomsPhoenix, Talk Show Host, “Declare Your Independence”
“End Medical Debt explains that among all the developed countries, only Americans risk the probability that medical treatment will be financially inaccessible or that a family will be made destitute from a serious injury or disease. The sacrifices families make for medical care of loved ones is heartbreaking. The experience and wisdom of authors Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico have resulted in the system presented in their exciting new book. Their charity, RIP Medical Debt, may well help us to turn the corner on this major problem facing quality medical care in America.”
—Nancy A. Niparko, M.D., Attending Neurologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“While care providers fight to make ends meet and corporate interests seek out profit margins everywhere, politicians struggle to strike a balance as more and more Americans are compounding their serious health issues with unprecedented and unmanageable medical debt. Meanwhile, a small self-appointed group of experts from the world of health care finance are seeking solutions for consumers, providers and a broken system. Where there are no acceptable answers yet, people are creating them. Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico are putting lifetimes of experience to work in End Medical Debtto spread the word that medical debt is a personal and national crisis. More so, they are offering answers that are gaining national attention.”
— Kevin A. Cahill, New York State Assemblyman; Chair, Assembly Committee on Insurance; Member, Assembly Committee on Health
“End Medical Debt is exactly what we need to jumpstart a national discussion about our current dysfunctional for-profit health care system, and what to do about it, so patients like me don’t have to experience the financial and personal hardships caused by medical debt. We are a forgotten, disposable, invisible universe of people. There are millions of us. This book explains with passion and honesty the nightmare of medical debt”
— Joel R. Segal, Former senior legislative assistant, U.S. Congress, 2000-2019, Co-author, HR 676: “Expanded and Improved Medicare For All”
“America spends more on medical care than any other country, and the resulting medical debt is our nation’s top reason for bankruptcy and financial ruin. I’ve seen the impact. End Medical Debt offers clear answers on what people can do for themselves and society to end this scourge.”
— Ed Asner, Actor, Activist
“The authors write about the medical crisis of this country in all its forms. They open End Medical Debt by showing the many problems of the medical field from waste to costs that are skyrocketing out of control and why. Later, the three writers tackle solutions that are soundly logical and should be instituted by politicians, doctors, pharmaceuticals, and average citizens to resolve the problems. They even approach the VA system, pointing out its flaws and what can be done to fix them. End Medical Debt is a valuable resource that should be read by every American citizen to make our health care system the best it can be in the world.”
— Midwest Book Review, July 2019