The hope is that this credit crunch is a short-term pain. No one knows, of course. Anything longer than what experts consider short-term may ignite a perfect storm with massive consequences to the health care industry.
From The New York Times:
Tight credit is adding to a financial challenge that some hospitals are already facing, as greater numbers of patients are unable to afford the rising out-of-pocket portions of their medical bills or lack insurance altogether. Many hospitals say they are already seeing an increase in their bad debt — money they bill patients for but cannot collect.
And that problem could get worse, as people worry first about paying their mortgages and credit card bills before dealing with their medical bills, said Gary Taylor, a hospital analyst at Citi Investment Research. “We’re worrying about collection rates falling,” he said.