Investing in community leaders is essential
Applications to the 2024 Restuccia Health Justice Fellowship are now open!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 13, 2023
Contact: Jack Cardinal, email@example.com, (781) 960-5208
*** Photos and Participant Interviews Available Upon Request ***
Washington, D.C. – Today, Community Catalyst hosted a day of action in Washington, D.C. to shine a bright light on people impacted by medical debt and highlight partners working to address the crisis through policy, advocacy and other organizing and powerbuilding efforts. Their message is clear: Medical debt is a uniquely American problem and the Biden administration must do more to provide our communities with relief. This follows the delivery of comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury earlier this week, signed by 70 groups, demanding tougher actions against medical payment products, which are just another medical debt trap.
“Nobody should have to make the impossible decision between life and debt, but in America, that’s the reality for far too many of us,” said Community Catalyst Executive Director Emily Stewart. “The Biden administration has done more to address medical debt than any administration prior and we are grateful for that. But we came to Washington, D.C. because the administration must continue to hear from advocates and impacted people about the additional actions they can take to continue to address the crisis. It’s time the Biden administration used all the tools in its toolbox to address the medical debt crisis. Taking on this issue will further the administration’s commitment to advance health equity while simultaneously helping address the rising costs of health care.”
More than 100 million people have medical debt in America, both insured and uninsured. And, while anyone can incur medical debt, the impact is felt more acutely by Black and Latinx communities due to longstanding barriers to health and economic security due to racism, classism and other forms of oppression. The advocates and impacted people in Washington, D.C. today highlighted, among other things; the prevalence of dental services and lack of dental insurance as a leading contributor to medical debt, with heightened calls aimed at the Biden administration to prohibit the promotion of predatory deferred interest credit cards in dental offices, as well as hospitals and other medical settings. They also pushed the Biden administration to hold non-profit hospitals accountable to their 501(c)(3) status, following growing reports that they are operating more like for-profit entities and not providing adequate charity care.
Impacted community members and state advocates traveled from Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio for the day of action organized by Community Catalyst. They met with members of Congress as well as administration officials from the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the National Economic Council (NEC).
Together, with a growing coalition of partners, Community Catalyst has outlined a series of executive actions the Biden administration can take to address the medical debt crisis in America, which impacts four in ten adults, and forces too many to make the impossible choice between life and debt.
The events in Washington reflect the growing momentum towards further action from the Biden administration on medical debt, including:
Impacted community members are speaking out, from around the country, about how medical debt has impacted them. Among them are:
Photos and participant interviews are available upon request. Please contact Jcardinal@communitycatalyst.org.
About Community Catalyst:
Community Catalyst is a national organization dedicated to building the power of people to create a health system rooted in race equity and health justice, and a society where health is a right for all. We’re an experienced, trusted partner to organizations across the country, a change agent to policymakers at the local, state, and national level, and both an adversary and a collaborator to health systems in our efforts to advance health justice. We partner with local, state and national organizations and leaders to leverage and build power so that people are at the center of important decisions about health and health care, whether they are made by health care executives, in state houses, or on Capitol Hill. Together with partners, we’re building a powerful, united movement with a shared vision of and strategy for a health system accountable to all people. Learn more at communitycatalyst.org.