All Medical Debt Canceled?!

( – Democrat members of the US Congress, including socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, have moved to propose legislation designed to eradicate the approximately $220 billion in medical debt burdening millions of Americans.

Introduced on Wednesday, the bill would not only eliminate this debt but would also expunge related records from credit histories and significantly curb the accumulation of future medical debt, as outlined in a press release from Sanders’ office.

The independent senator from Vermont is collaborating on this initiative with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley from Oregon and Democratic Representatives Ro Khanna from California and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan, MassLive reports.

“No one in America should face financial ruin because of the outrageous cost of an unexpected medical emergency or a hospital stay. The time has come to cancel all medical debt and guarantee health care to all as a human right, not a privilege,” Sanders asserted.

According to data from Sanders’ office, more than a quarter (27%) of all working-age adults across the nation are indebted by $500 or more due to medical expenses, and 15% are dealing with medical debts exceeding $2,000.

A 2022 report by NPR and KFF Health News, cited by The Guardian, has found that more than 100 million Americans, including 41% of adults, hold any kind of medical debt.

“Patients should be able to get the care they need when facing illness or injury without fear of financial ruin,” Merkley stated in a joint declaration.

“America’s medical debt crisis continues to harm millions, and Congress must do all it can to relieve patients of this tremendous burden,” he added.

As currently drafted, the legislation proposes making “it illegal to collect medical debt incurred prior to the bill’s enactment and creating a private right of action for patients.

It also provides for erasing “medical debt from credit reports by preventing credit reporting agencies from reporting information related to debt that arose from medical expenses;”

The bill stipulates the establishing of “a grant program within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to cancel medical debt, prioritizing low-resource providers and vulnerable populations.

“This bill cuts off medical debt at the source by requiring hospitals to uphold their obligation to provide charity care to eligible patients who cannot afford to pay and supports hospitals so they can forgive debt before it gets sold to debt collectors,” commented Neale Mahoney, an economist and medical debt expert at Stanford University.

Copyright 2024,