Demand action from the Biden-Harris administration on the medical debt crisis in America


The driving force behind medical debt is simple — there aren’t enough protections in place for people accessing health care in the U.S. The burden is carried disproportionately by adults without insurance, women, Black and Hispanic adults, parents, immigrants, and those with lower incomes.

Medical debt is an issue of race equity, health and economic justice. Its effects are far-reaching: all too often, individuals delay or forgo treatment due to cost. Some providers deny treatment because an individual has medical debt or is unable to pay. For others, damaged or ruined credit after a medical procedure may upend their financial stability. They may experience drained savings, bankruptcy, stress, anxiety, and altered life trajectories. All because they got sick.

The Biden-Harris administration can take a series of specific steps — which are endorsed by dozens of local, state and national groups — to help tens of millions of people from crushing medical debt. To ensure economic security and access to care for all, these actions must be community-driven and centered in race equity and health justice.

We’re Taking Action

We’re Taking Action

More than 60 groups launched a campaign urging the Biden-Harris administration to do more to relieve medical debt for tens of millions of people. The campaign, led by Community Catalyst, sent two letters — one to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Treasury, and one to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — with specific executive actions the administration can take.

The letter sent to the IRS and Department of Treasury urges the administration to:

  • Bolster financial assistance policies to prevent people from incurring medical debt in the first place.
  • Regulate excessive charges from non-profit hospitals who are obligated to provide charity care or financial assistance to patients.
  • Protect people from harsh billing and collection practices like foreclosures, wage garnishment and bank account seizures.
  • Strengthen enforcement of regulations to be considered and receive tax breaks as a non-profit hospital.

The letter sent to the CFPB urges the administration to:

  • Prohibit medical debt from showing up on credit reports by enhancing protections in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • Eliminate deferred interest in medical credit cards (often referred to as “buy now, pay later”).
  • Undertake aggressive enforcement against unfair, deceptive, and abusive hospital practices, which can prevent debt from being waived or forgiven by hospital policies.
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