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July 20, 2021

Medical Debt as a Social Determinant of Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 3Department of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA. 2021;326(3):228-229. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.9011

The profound influence of social determinants of health (the conditions in which people are born, learn, play, work, and age) has become widely recognized and accepted.1 Recent work on health-related social determinants and risk factors has focused mostly on factors such as poverty and income insecurity, housing and employment instability, and structural racism and other forms of discrimination. For example, important studies in this area have convincingly demonstrated enormous health and health care inequities for people in the lowest income brackets, for people experiencing homelessness and housing instability, and for those who have inadequate employment and wages.2,3

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