US Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Ro Khanna introduce bill to eliminate all medical debt.

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Senators Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley, along with Representatives Ro Khanna and Rashida Tlaib, introduced a bill to wipe out $220 billion in medical debt for millions of Americans, erase it from credit reports, and curb future medical debt. The legislation aims to alleviate the financial burden of healthcare costs, which have driven many into poverty and prevented others from seeking necessary medical care. Medical debt disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, and this bill seeks to address these disparities by reforming the healthcare system and providing relief to those burdened by medical bills.

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Key Points:

  • The legislation targets the burgeoning medical debt crisis in the United States, which has left millions financially strained and deterred from seeking essential healthcare.
  • An estimated 27% of working-age adults in the U.S. currently carry medical debt exceeding $500, with 15% burdened by debts of $2,000 or more.
  • The Medical Debt Cancellation Act aims to eliminate all $220 billion in medical debt, alleviate financial strain on individuals and families, and provide relief from the looming threat of bankruptcy due to unexpected medical expenses.
  • The proposed legislation would not only wipe out existing medical debt but also prevent the accrual of future debt by implementing reforms to the healthcare billing and debt collection system.
  • Medical debt disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations, including women, Black Americans, people with disabilities, and those residing in rural areas and the South.
  • Research indicates a surge in hospitals pursuing medical debt lawsuits against patients, particularly impacting Black and low-income individuals and those in rural areas.
  • Medical debt relief is crucial for improving access to healthcare, fostering trust between patients and healthcare providers, and preventing financial hardships that impede recovery and well-being.
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