A Podcast About the Medical Debt Crisis

On May 3, Community Catalyst’s Executive Director Emily Stewart was interviewed on WNYC’s The Takeaway. In the episode, she and host Dr. Melissa Harris Perry discussed the uniquely American issue of medical debt — why people are being overcharged by non-profit hospital systems in particular, how medical debt relief groups are helping people in monumental ways but not addressing the root causes, and immediate actions the Biden-Harris administration can take to address the problem at scale by putting consumer protections in place and holding non-profit hospital systems accountable.

In the episode, Emily shared the story of Kaylynn, one of the 41 percent of adults in America with medical debt who have been impacted by an unjust health system that continues to put profit over people.

“A huge proportion of people with medical debt have exhausted their life savings, have dipped into their retirement accounts; people have refinanced their homes as a result of medical debt,” Emily said during the episode. “They are making decisions between pursuing continuous health care or paying their rent or getting a car or paying their car payment so that they can go to work. So it’s having a real significant impact on people’s overall lives and well-being. It’s not just affecting their health care, it’s their ability to get by, day-to-day.”

You can listen to the full episode and learn more about the Community Catalyst campaign to end medical debt.

“Relieving medical debt today does nothing for the people who are newly incurring medical debt tomorrow.”
Executive Director Emily Stewart