Tarrant County in Texas has the highest concentration of medical debt in the nation


Artwork: Megan Robinson/Axios

Dallas-Fort Worth residents have more medical debt than any other region in the country, Kaiser Health News reports.

Why is this important: The US healthcare system has pushed back 41% of adults going into debt in the form of credit card balances, loans from loved ones, and payment plans to cover costs.

  • This is a sobering statistic for a country with the ability to provide some of the best care in the world.

Threat level: Tarrant County has the highest concentration of medical debt of the nation’s 20 most populous counties.

  • Dallas County ranks second.

By the numbers: 27% of Tarrant County residents report having medical debt, with a median of $984 per KHN.

  • 23% of Dallas County residents have medical debt, with a median of $994.
  • Residents of New York and California have the smallest share of medical debt. In New York County, only 3% of people have medical debt and the median amount is $387.

Yes, but: Hospitals in our region continue to thrive and expand their footprint.

Between the lines: People of color have lower average family income, have more medical debt, and are less likely to have health insurance than white patients.

  • In Dallas County, 22% of people of color have medical debt in collection, compared to 10% of white patients. And the amount owed is higher for people of color.

Meanwhile: Americans don’t seem to have much faith in our health care system.

The bottom line: The data is another measure of racial disparities across the country and a testament to our nation’s baffling approach to health care.

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