A new report suggests that middle-class Americans are struggling with greater medical debt than any other class of Americans, with one out of every four having unpaid medical bills.
As Axios reports, the data comes from the left-wing think tank Third Way, which calculates that as many as 17 million middle-class Americans – those making between $50,000 and $100,000 per year – are struggling to pay off medical debts. Middle-class Americans in particular are even less likely to qualify for Medicare than low-income Americans.
“It’s even more tragic in that sense,” said David Kendall, a senior fellow at Third Way. “They’d have even higher levels of debt if they thought they could get the care, but they don’t think they can get the care.”
Roughly 23.5% of middle-class Americans have medical debts to some degree, slightly more than the 22% of low-income Americans who share such debts. Among those with higher incomes, only about 13% have medical debts.
The trend is consistent across racial lines, with 20.4% of White middle-class Americans holding medical debts. Roughly 25.2% of middle-class Hispanics have medical debts, as do 37.5% of middle-class African-Americans. In all three cases, the rates of medical debt are higher than low-income Americans and high-income Americans in the same ethnic groups.
Overall, estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) suggest that as many as 100 million Americans – nearly one-third of the national population – have some medical debts.