The Hill: Sanders previews plan to cancel all past-due medical debt


August 31, 2019

BY TAL AXELROD

White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday previewed his upcoming plan to cancel all past-due medical debt.

Sanders, who will unveil the plan in full next month, has made the country’s health care costs a focal point of his progressive policy proposals.

Sanders’s plan would cancel $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt, repeal parts of the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill and ensure that unpaid medical bills do not impact one’s credit score. Sanders has hit the 2005 bill for eliminating “fundamental consumer protections,” accusing it of making it difficult for Americans to pay back medical debt by imposing stringent means tests.

“In the United States of America, your financial life and future should not be destroyed because you or a member of your family gets sick,” Sanders said in a news release previewing his plan.

“That is unacceptable. I am sick and tired of seeing over 500,000 Americans declare bankruptcy each year because they cannot pay off the outrageous cost of a medical emergency or a hospital stay,” he continued. “In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, 42 percent of Americans should not be losing their entire life savings two years after being diagnosed with cancer.”

Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion to cover medical expenses in the 12 months before the April release of a Gallup and West Health report.

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