John Carlson is one of many facing medical debt in Connecticut, and yet he considers himself lucky.
Now 19, Carlson developed a soft tissue cancer at the age of 16 that at one point left him unable to speak or eat. The Middletown resident spent two years fighting to become cancer-free and his parents took out $20,000 in loans to cover the cost of his treatments.
“I’m fortunate because not everybody has parents that can do this and not everybody has insurance that covers these costs,” Carlson told U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., during a medical debt forum Thursday at Fair Haven Community Health Care. “No person deserve to be burdened with hundreds of thousand of dollars of debt just so they can stay alive. This is not a luxury like a brand-new car.”
Murphy, who began holding medical debt forums last month in Fairfield County, said “there is a broad debate about this that we are going to have as part of the presidential campaign,” he said. “But right now, we’ve got this growing crisis of medical debt.”