She had a home and a good-paying job. Then illness and debt upended it all.

Sharon Woodward was a medical technician who had to retire in her mid-40s due to being diagnosed with a debilitating form of arthritis, resulting in her accumulating over $20,000 in medical debts. She was forced to move to a small town and relied on food banks to get enough to eat. This story is one of 100 million people in the U.S. with healthcare debt. The project is a reporting partnership between KFF Health News and NPR, exploring the scale, impact, and causes of medical debt in America. The research includes original polling, court records, federal data, a yearlong investigation into financial assistance and collection policies, and additional research conducted by the Urban Institute, the JPMorgan Chase Institute, and the CED Project.

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