How can so many Americans maintain solid control over many aspects of their financial lives and yet be so helpless before the onslaught of medical debt?

Lots of terms immediately crop up as candidates for describing the exorbitant cost of health care and the horror that thereafter confronts high numbers of California residents and millions of other people across the country when aggressive collectors come after them for payment. Medical debt exactions are certainly unfair and arguably unethical. Bills relating to drugs and services are egregiously high. It hardly seems an exaggeration to assert that medical debt is a scourge upon the land.

And here’s why: In some instances, the tally for treatment rivals that of a brand-new home mortgage. People are caught by surprise, with a surgery, for example, being something they just couldn’t prepare for — ever –financially.

A recent Forbes article on medical debt and its pernicious effects across the country cites a shocking figure supplied by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. According to the CFPB, well more than 40 million Americans dealing with a collection agency have amassed medical debt.

One debt commentator who has researched the subject thoroughly notes that of the four biggest expenses most people incur in life (costs incurred for a house, car, college degree and hospital care, respectively), “you have no control over the bill for the fourth one.”

And that sad reality is dealing a severe body blow to scores of millions of financially beleaguered individuals and families.

The long-respected and legally mandated remedy of bankruptcy that is recognized under both federal and state laws can be a viable strategy for responding to debt levels — from medical bills and many other sources — that have become insuperably high and that fundamentally threaten financial stability. A proven debt relief attorney can answer questions and advocate diligently on behalf of any consumer who needs debt-related help.