Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1416947
 
 

Footnotes (149)



 


 



Get Sick, Get Out: The Medical Causes of Home Mortgage Foreclosures


Christopher T. Robertson


University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

Richard Egelhof


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Michael Hoke


affiliation not provided to SSRN

August 18, 2008

Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 65, 2008

Abstract:     
In recent years, there has been national alarm about the rising rate of home foreclosures, which now strike one in every 92 households in America and which contribute to even broader macroeconomic effects. The "standard account" of home foreclosure attributes this spike to loose lending practices, irresponsible borrowers, a flat real estate market, and rising interest rates. Based on our study of homeowners going through foreclosures in four states, we find that the standard account fails to represent the facts and thus makes a poor guide for policy. In contrast, we find that half of all foreclosures have medical causes, and we estimate that medical crises put 1.5 million Americans in jeopardy of losing their homes last year.

Half of all respondents (49%) indicated that their foreclosure was caused in part by a medical problem, including illness or injuries (32%), unmanageable medical bills (23%), lost work due to a medical problem (27%), or caring for sick family members (14%). We also examined objective indicia of medical disruptions in the previous two years, including those respondents paying more than $2,000 of medical bills out of pocket (37%), those losing two or more weeks of work because of injury or illness (30%), those currently disabled and unable to work (8%), and those who used their home equity to pay medical bills (13%). Altogether, seven in ten respondents (69%) reported at least one of these factors.

If these findings can be replicated in more comprehensive studies, they will suggest critical policy reforms. We lay out one approach, focusing on an insurance-model, which would help homeowners bridge temporary gaps caused by medical crises. We also present a legal proposal for staying foreclosure proceedings during verifiable medical crises, as a way to protect homeowners and to minimize the negative externalities of foreclosure.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: home foreclosures, medical events, medicine, mortgages, bankruptcy, insurance, homeownership

JEL Classification: R31, G21

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: June 12, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Robertson, Christopher T. and Egelhof, Richard and Hoke, Michael, Get Sick, Get Out: The Medical Causes of Home Mortgage Foreclosures (August 18, 2008). Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 65, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1416947

Contact Information

Christopher T. Robertson (Contact Author)
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/getprofile.cfm?facultyid=714

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )
124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )
23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States
Richard Egelhof
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Michael Hoke
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 9,060
Downloads: 708
Download Rank: 18,887
Footnotes:  149

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.328 seconds