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Politicians file for personal bankruptcy, too: Medical debt looms

Would you trust a politician who has filed for bankruptcy? Although your first instinct might be a judgmental one, wait just one minute -- politicians and public figures suffer misfortune just like the rest of us Washington residents. The fact remains that bankruptcy can be precipitated by a variety of unfortunate events, as demonstrated by one nearby Oregon politician.

Dan Mason is running for a spot in the Oregon House. He explains that his ex-wife's illness led him to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy 11 years ago. Neither he nor his ex-wife had health insurance at the time, so they found themselves in over their heads financially. The couple were facing lawsuits from credit and collections agencies; they said the only way they could stop creditor harassment was to seek protection under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code.

Statistics show that a large number of bankruptcies in America are triggered by an adverse health condition. Medical debt can weigh heavily on a family's finances. Those who are facing mountains of medical debt may benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy. This particular type of bankruptcy allows filers to discharge the vast majority of their debts -- though there are some exceptions.

When it comes down to it, there is no reason to distrust someone who had to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy because of circumstances that were out of their control. Mason said the bankruptcy actually helped his political career because he understands the needs of his constituents. Further, he is now a property manager, so he understands the financial travails facing his tenants. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not an embarrassing or shameful process -- it can be a better choice than struggling under piles of debt.

Source: The Oregonian, "GOP House candidate says medical bills caused bankruptcy filing" Yuxing Zheng, Jun. 04, 2014

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