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Individuals with Two-Year Gap in Medical Coverage Nearly Twice as Likely to File for Bankruptcy, According to Research Included in Summer ABI Law Review

Alexandria, Va. — Individuals who experienced a gap in medical care coverage over a two-year period were roughly twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as those who retained continuous coverage, according to an article in the Summer 2019 edition of the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) Law Review (Volume 27, No. 2). In their article “Moving Beyond Medical Debt,” Prof. Brook E. Gotberg of the University of Missouri School of Law (Columbia, Mo.) and Prof. Michael D. Sousa of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (Denver, Colo.) detail their research looking at data from a national survey of adults from 2004 through 2014 that indicates that the principal predictor of consumer bankruptcy is a lapse in medical insurance coverage.

Gotberg and Sousa's study was funded in 2016 by ABI's Anthony H.N. Schnelling Endowment Fund to examine whether the expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had a correlative effect on the rate of consumer bankruptcy filings across the country. “Most existing empirical studies attempt to quantify the percentage of consumer bankruptcies that are ‘caused’ by unmanageable medical indebtedness,” Gotberg and Sousa write. “This article addresses what we believe to be a more significant line of empirical inquiry, namely, the connection between health insurance coverage and consumer bankruptcy as a more precise measurement of how national health insurance programs may or may not affect bankruptcy filing rates.”

“These findings contribute to the ongoing debate regarding the Affordable Care Act and the provision of health insurance to low-income Americans, and the role consistent health insurance coverage plays in relation to the consumer bankruptcy system.”

Other articles included in the Summer 2019 ABI Law Review include:

  • “Credit Card Debt and Consumer Bankruptcy: Can We ‘Nudge’ Our Way Out?” by Prof. Robert J. Landry III of Jacksonville State University's School of Business and Industry (Jacksonville, Ala.).
  • “‘The Supreme Court’s Jevic Decision Regarding Structured Dismissals in Bankruptcy Is Wrong. What's a Lawyer to Do?” by Prof. Jeffrey Davis of the University of Florida Levin College of Law (Gainesville, Fla.).
  • “Escape from Pandemonium: Reconciling § 363(F) and § 365(H) in Qualitech’s Shadow and Spanish Peaks’ Wake” by Amir Shachmurove of Troutman Sanders (Washington, D.C.).

ABI’s Law Review, published in conjunction with St. Johns University School of Law in Jamaica, N.Y., is among the most cited and respected scholarly publications in the bankruptcy community. Now in its 27th year, it has the largest circulation of any bankruptcy law review. Past issues of the Law Review have focused on a variety of timely insolvency issues, including chapter 11 reform, distressed sectors, single-asset cases, consumer bankruptcy, revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and other topics.

Members of the press looking to obtain any of the articles from the Summer 2019 issue should contact John Hartgen at 703-894-5935 or


ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes nearly 11,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit For additional conference information, visit