“She is now among the 62% whose personal bankruptcy was attributable in part to medical bills," said Jane Perkins, a health law expert in North Carolina, when discussing the personal bankruptcy of Mary Brown, the 56-year-old Florida woman who became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue.
Brown owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, and became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's healthcare law.
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 Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation's case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month.
But court records reveal that Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with just $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. Those bills could change Brown from a symbol of proud independence into an example of exactly the problem the healthcare law was intended to address.
The health care provider could have lost more. The average stay in a hospital is now over $6,000.