White House Report on the Reduction of Medical Debt is Good News, But Much More is Needed
News this week from the White House that the number of people with medical debt fell by 8.2 million, or 18%, between 2020 and 2022, largely thanks to ACA expansion and Covid-19 relief funds is welcomed news. But the fundamentals of the medical crisis in the United States remain in place – and must be addressed in bigger ways.
Four in ten adults have some kind of medical debt in this country, and the burden is disproportionately carried by adults without insurance, women, Black and Hispanic adults, parents, immigrants, and those with lower incomes.
For more than 15 years, Community Catalyst has been leading the fight to eliminate medical debt in the United States. In response to the report, Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst released the following statement:
“This report makes clear that access to affordable and comprehensive health coverage is critical to protecting people against health care debt. Thanks to more affordable coverage options, continued expansion of Medicaid and COVID-19 relief funding, our country has seen good progress in reducing medical debt and the rate of uninsured. While good news, it does nothing to change the bigger picture. For far too many people in the United States, they continue to struggle with medical debt which is so often incurred as a result of sky-high prices and unaffordable or unaccessible health insurance. As a nation, our goal must be that no one is faced with the impossible decision of choosing between health care and keeping a roof over their head. That is why policymakers must strengthen medical debt protections, eliminate aggressive debt collection practices, and hold health systems accountable to fair prices and billing practices.
Experts from Community Catalyst are available to discuss this latest report from the White House and efforts to push policymakers to do more to eliminate medical debt.
Community Catalyst and partner advocates are collecting petition signatures urging the Biden administration to act. You can find more details on how medical debt holds millions of people back here:
- “My biggest issue is life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness—and how the health care was set up almost took out all three of them.” – Waiting for the Bill: Kaylynn’s Story
- “I can very much remember the angst that I felt around that time of having bills that I literally could not pay.” – Planting Seeds for Change: SOWEGA Rising
- “It was just a difficult time—to try to juggle making sure the bills are paid, making sure that I’m getting the right treatment. It was just all overwhelming.” – Between Life and Debt: Aracely’s Story
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About Community Catalyst:
Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for race equity and health justice. We partner with local, state and national advocates to leverage and build power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit http://www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.