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Woman with bill Lack of insurance and under-insurance—where workers may have some form of medical insurance but face copays or other out-of-pocket expenses that are onerous for low-income workers—continue to be a problems.

A new report by the Brookings Institute shows striking class and racial inequities in the area of medical debt, where nearly 80% of medical debt is held by households with zero or negative net worth, and Black households have medical debt at a rate of nearly 10 percentage points higher than non-Black households.

The study, which used Census data to gauge levels of medical debt, noted that racial inequities in the labor market has had a significant impact on the health of Black Americans, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Black workers are more likely to be employed in jobs considered essential, the study noted, including areas such as transit, factories, retail, health care facilities, and childcare. Lack of insurance, or under-insurance—where workers may have some form of medical insurance but face copays or other out-of-pocket expenses that are onerous for low-income workers—continues to be a problem.

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