HHS: Only 12 percent of uninsured can pay hospital bills

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that less than one-eighth of the 50 million Americans who lack health insurance can afford to pay their hospital bills, suggesting that acute care providers may need to deal with these patients in different ways. "One of the most enduring myths in American healthcare is that people without health insurance can get care with little or no problem. Nothing could be farther from the truth," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "The result is families going without care--or facing healthcare bills they can't hope to pay." Sebelius noted that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would cover many of those individuals.