A street person might collapse. Someone calls 911. An ambulance comes and takes them to the hospital and they are treated. About two weeks later, they receive a bill. Actually, a number of bills. All together they equal a minimum of a thousand dollars. But the street person has no money, no regular means of income. Rather than burden themselves with guilt about a debt they cannot pay, they ignore it. The bills keep coming and they keep throwing it away. Perhaps there is a slight amount of guilt about the bill, but the practical fact is, they can’t pay it.
Most hospitals have programs to help pay for such bills. But with those programs come a lot of paperwork, which most people on the street can’t fill out on their own. Soon, if there is any bill, any debt, it is routinely ignored. They figure that they wouldn’t have much use for a good credit number anyway.
But there is still a small amount of guilt about the debt for many of those on the street. For this reason, they generally avoid any kind of debt. If they are sick, they try to care for themselves, rest and take what few medicines are available to them. But they don’t go to the doctor, because that requires money—a lot of it. And they just don’t have it.
Interestingly enough, even after a person is off the street or obtains a regular income, this attitude persists. Debts are something to be ignored, not held responsible for.