"I'm not sure what will happen but I'm not convinced we'll experience a reduction of personal bankruptcy filings as a result of Obamacare."
I don't have a crystal ball either. But let's look at these facts...
1) people who don't have any coverage now can get coverage on the exchanges. In my state there are a wide range of plans available with all kinds of deductible options, from no deductible/co insurance to $2,000 deductible with various coinsurance options and OOP caps of $6,300 indiv/$12k family. Most people get a significant tax credit that directly offsets the premium so can choose what plan fits them best.
Now if a previously uninsured who takes a high deductible Bronze plan, for example, goes to the hospital next year ... are they better off with the $50,000 bill they would have had or the $6,300 bill they'd have now?
Oh and no bill for the checkups and immunizations and mammograms and that colonoscopy (a $2,000 plus procedure) either...
2) No caps on lifetime coverage. Get a dread disease or injury pre-ACA and it doesn't take that long to run through a $1 million cap. Then you lose everything to stay alive. No more. That applies to group plans most of us have through work now. Fewer bankruptcies.
3) When I was in my immediate post college days I don't think I had any coverage at all. Dumb dumb dumb. I had very bad sciatica problems at 25...could barely walk without a cane for quite a while. Didn't get it taken care of for a long time, doc back then told me I was flirting with hip surgery for waiting so long. Now, thanks to the ACA, my kids stay on my health plan until they are 26. One of my kids just aged off this month...her daughter, my granddaughter, was covered under my plan too so long as mom was. That made a big difference for her. Most kids in that group now can stay on mom or dad's plan and now don't get a $50,000 surprise when they break their leg skiing.
So I think there are a lot of reasons that bankruptcies for medical expenses should go down.
And a lot of folks in these situations don't file bankruptcy, keep in mind. I remember back when my ex wife and I were very young and thought we were over our heads and talked to a lawyer about filing a chapter 7. We couldn't afford to do it and we ended up OK eventually.
But not filing bankruptcy can lead to wage garnishments, asset seizure, etc etc etc...for medical bills. I think this is better than the status quo.
There are things I don't like about the ACA...and that I opposed when Bob Dole ran on essentially this plan in 1996 and Romney pushed it here. The mandate to buy bothered me and I frankly think it would be infinitely better to go to single payer and cut the crap.