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The headline of an article in Sunday’s Courant reads “In CT and elsewhere, more debtors choose personal bankruptcy,” but they missed an important point. The slant of the article is the growing number of bankruptcies resulting from foreclosures. The article describes Maryann Hagberg, a Waterbury woman, and her husband forced into bankruptcy to remain in their home. Maryann is a nutritionist at Griffin Hospital who put herself through college by waiting tables. She describes the bankruptcy as a “matter of survival”. But reading further into the story, it becomes clear that the precipitating financial crisis for Maryann’s family was her husband’s illness. Last summer he became so ill he had to give up his job cutting their income in half. The couple started to rely on credit cards to pay bills and the slide accelerated from there into a risk of foreclosure. But you have to read to the eighth paragraph to find out that medical costs were behind the crisis. A 2005 study found that half of bankruptcies involved medical debt. The Courant buried the lead.
Ellen Andrews