A simple question of ethics

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 1 year, 2 months ago.

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    Let’s say I am facing an expensive surgery and my HMO (health maintenance organization) wants a copay before proceeding that is way out of my ability to pay because I barely can pay my necessities on a limited income and have only a few hundred dollars in savings.

    Well, actually, I do have a way to pay for it but it raises ethical questions. I could max out my credit card.

    The ethical question is that I’m nearly certain that I’d have to then file for bankruptcy

    I have explored every other option I can think of.

    So, is it ethical to engage in basically a premeditated robbery/fraud and becoming a de facto, of not de jure, criminal in order to stay alive?

    You might also think of this problem in a somewhat different case where I’m not the one needing expensive surgery, but rather than me it’s my young child.

    Is saving a life worth through a criminal act ethically justifiable?

    Your thoughts?

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Unseen.

    Simon Paynton

    If you ask me, from a UK perspective, it is the health care system that is at fault by making people pay or die.  It’s inhumane.



    The surgery/credit card issue is more nuanced than it may seem. Kneejerk is perhaps to condemn the in-need citizen who is knowingly bilking the CC company. But the truth is credit card companies knowingly have customers overextend so that they can create a sharecropper relationship that persists for decades. They make a killing on many of them. I went to a seminar in which i heard the anecdote in which a decider of who gets credit with the best record in terms of customers who ultimately default got fired because the company made more profit by giving out more juice.

    The corporations have plans on how to fleece the public. So if an individual who in exigent circumstances flips the script it is hard to be too judgmental.



    If you are a conservative supporter of tax cuts for the wealthy/corporations and voted for privatized for-profit healthcare and insurance than yes, filing for bankruptcy would be wrong. Otherwise it is your duty.



    It is also an unfair playing field legally. Creditors have 60 days after the first scheduled hearing before a trustee to file an objection to dischargeability. Otherwise all by their nature dischargeable debts (nondischargeable include most taxes and family law obligations) will be discharged. Thing is big companies have in house counsel and they can do just that. So if they suspect a customer has taken a big cash advance in anticipation of bankruptcy they may go forward legally.


    Hands up who thinks CC companies or privately run “healthcare” providers operate with a decent code of ethics or  feel obliged to anyone other than their share holders.  Can anyone seriously say that the opioid crisis is not a direct result of the immoral practices of the healthcare system?  Billions are spent by “healthcare” lobbyists each year so the chances of a “rest of the world” approach to looking after people been taken at government level is unlikely.

    Take a look at this report which is a little dated but the problem has only gotten worse since then.

    As for credit cards companies? Yeah right. Where to start!





    i never brought any claims utilizing consumer protection laws. Why? Not cuz there weren’t obvious abuses that fit the requirements but cuz they sucked. The damages were very limited and the work involved just did not justify the effort. I am sure that has nothing to do with the influence of corporations on statutes.



    There are some of the best laws money can buy in the USA. And corporations are people. Seems reasonable.



    BTW, we are talking about a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy, not a Chapter 11 reorganization.

    There are things (this is American law) they cannot take from you:

    Property Most States Will Let You Exempt

    Many people can keep all of the property that they own when they file for bankruptcy. You’ll likely be able to retain the following types of assets:

    furniture, kitchenware, and bedding
    a small amount of jewelry
    tools of the trade (property you need for your work)
    ERISA-qualified retirement accounts
    a modest car, and
    some equity in your home.

    This list is not exhaustive. Your state will likely provide additional property protection.

    Property You Probably Won’t Be Able to Exempt

    The point of keeping property in bankruptcy is to ensure that you have what you need—not to protect luxury items. You should expect to surrender the following:

    exotic or expensive automobiles
    boats and other watercraft
    recreational vehicles and airplanes
    timeshares and vacation homes
    rental property
    valuable furniture and artwork, and
    investment and savings accounts.

    If your state has a “wildcard” exemption—an exemption that allows you to keep any property of your choosing up to a certain dollar amount—you’ll be able to use it on a luxury item. For instance, most states don’t allow filers to keep valuable collectible items, such as a vintage doll or coin collection. With a $10,000 wildcard exemption, you could keep your baseball card collection, an expensive set of skis, or anything else you like (up to $10,000 in value, of course). (Source for the above)

    Also, bankruptcy will not dispose of all debts. There are a surprising number of exemptions. Debts which a bankruptcy will not clear. You should at least try to pay these things, which include rent, a student loan, utility bills, insurance bills, and bills for property you intend to keep, like your automobile and your mortgage. (link to more info)

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Unseen.


    I wonder, if you go through a bankruptcy, I wonder if you still have a debt to society for intentionally defrauding you credit card company?



    Unseen, some of the things you write about bankruptcy are not accurate.

    Debtors (bankruptcy filers) elect either state or federal exemptions unless they are in an opt out state. The federal exemptions are fairly generous. But sometimes there are specific state exemptions that make the state’s exemptions advantageous. Typically it is a state homestead exemption which can be up to 100 thousand in equity. The nature of the property is irrelevant when claiming the wildcard exemption. A trustee is appointed in each chapter 7. Their job is to liquidate for the benefit of creditors any and all assets that exceed claimed exemptions.

    Unless things have changed greatly timeshares are always kept because they’re pretty much worthless except for Disney time shares.

    Rent and utilities are dischargeable. Student loans are dischargeable when it will cause an undue hardship to require repayment but it requires a trial to prevail. Mortgages and car loans are also dischargeable so people who are under water in equity or incapable of making payments can walk away from homes and cars without liability. If one intends to keep the car or home there is a requirement that a reaffirmation agreement is signed. In effect the reaffirmation agreement voids the discharge order as to that particular liability. In some states debtors get away with “retain and pay” on such obligations which means they can avoid liability after the bankruptcy if they at first intended to keep the home or car and later can’t swing it.

    If your eyes have not glossed over reading about law you are different.




    The info I gave was from Lawyers.com. What do you cite for your points?



    Enco, I cite 15 years of private law practice with an emphasis in bankruptcy. I filed over 1000 chapter 7 cases for clients and 50 or so chapter 13s. I also worked in the office of the United States Trustee during law school. I know maah shit.



    Unseen, I apologize for confusing you with Enco.




    The synthetic Fenanyl crisis exists precisely because people can’t have easy access to Opioids or Marijuana and those are a crisis because they are illegal to grow and possess and thus Pharmaceutical firms can’t research ways to genetically modify them and can’t control dosage, content and purity, so the drugs kill pain and not people.  Also, with Drug Prohibition, Pharmaceutical firms can’t legally splice drug plants with kudzu growth gene to make them as cheap and plentiful as candy.

    And Islamofascists in the Middle East and the Cartels in South and Central America are the biggest profiteers of Drug Prohibition, just as organized crime in the U.S. was the biggest profiteer of Alcohol Prohibition.

    Prior to 1906 in the United States, a parent could send their kid to the Pharmacist with a few Dollars and the kid could purchase Opium-based cough syrup for Little Sister, over-the-counter, no questions asked, and the kid would have change left over for a chocolate malt at the soda fountain.

    And when the kid got back home, Little Sister got her medicine and got better, no fuss, no muss, no ODs, no stealing to support a habit, no gang violence in the streets over sales “turf” or “drug deals gone bad.”

    Pain is a life-and-health-threatening condition too, and our present International “War On Drugs” has taken more lives than the drugs could ever do themselves.  End this War (including prescription laws)  and Physicians and Pharmacists can get back to providing life, health, and relief and doing so affordably for all.

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