Watch: She Had a Home and a Good-Paying Job. Then Illness and Debt Upended It All.


Sharon Woodward, a former medical technician, was forced to retire after being diagnosed with a debilitating form of arthritis, leaving her with over $20,000 in medical debt. She had to move to a small town in Virginia and at times relied on food banks to eat. This is a common story in America, with 100 million people facing medical debt. The “Diagnosis: Debt” project, a partnership between KFF Health News and NPR, explores the scale, impact, and causes of medical debt in America, drawing on original polling, hospital finance data, and interviews with patients and health industry leaders to shed light on this critical issue.

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