Costs; Debt; Ethics; and a solution

The costs of medical care are staggering. This study, “Illness And Injury As Contributors To Bankruptcy,” from Health Affairs reminds us that 50% of bankruptcies are caused, at least in part, by medical expenses. “An Outcry Rises as Debt Collectors Play Rough” in the Times July 5th describes the gloves-off tactics of debt collectors today. Finally, “The Moral Burden of Bankrupcy” in the Christian Science Monitor applies religious ethics to debt,

Given the spiralling cost and chaos of our health care system system perhaps this, as noted in the the Health Affairs study, is the solution!

If the debtor be insolvent to serve creditors, let his body be cut in pieces on the third market day. It may be cut into more or fewer pieces with impunity. Or, if his creditors consent to it, let him be sold to foreigners beyond the Tiber.
—Twelve Tables, Table III, 6 (ca. 450 B.C.)

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