Wisconsin hospitals see unpaid medical bills rise to $1B

MADISON — A Wisconsin Hospital Association report shows that the state's hospitals have seen an increase in unpaid medical bills that's topped a billion dollars.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that 150 Wisconsin hospitals had a total of $1.1 billion in uncompensated health care services in 2017, up 14 percent from 2016. The figure includes charity care and bad debt.

The report found that Milwaukee County hospitals accounted for nearly 30 percent of the unpaid total.

The report doesn't explain the increase and hospital association officials didn't return the newspaper's request for comment.

Bobby Peterson is the executive director of ABC for Health, a nonprofit law firm. He says the Affordable Care Act helped reduce uncompensated care. Peterson says President Donald Trump's administration's policy decisions may have reversed the act's effects.