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A serious illness will often wipe out your life savings even if you have health insurance. That's the sobering conclusion from a new national survey of people who have had to rely on the health care system intensively.

The big picture: "You’re kind of at a disadvantage as a consumer going against these big complicated systems that don’t always have your best interest at heart," University of Michigan professor Sarah Miller told the New York Times, which helped analyze the survey. "And I think that’s why there’s so much financial burden, even among people with private insurance."

By the numbers, via the NYT:

  • 36% of seriously ill patients with insurance said they had used up all or most of their savings to pay for their care; 29% had a bill referred to a collection agency; and 21% said they had been unable to pay for basic necessities.
  • Among seriously ill patients without insurance, 57% said they had spent through their savings, and 51% reported being unable to afford things like food and housing.

Making matters worse, 53% said their illness had kept them from working, at least temporarily. That may not be a direct health care cost — it's not money that goes into the health care system — but it's a big part of the toll that the system takes on the people who need it.

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.