Becerra: 2/3 of personal bankruptcies linked to medical debt

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Americans hold between $90 billion and $200 billion in medical debt

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Americans hold between $90 billion and $200 billion in medical debt. That’s why the Biden administration says getting sick or caring for sick loved ones shouldn’t be a financial hardship.

On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris announced new steps the federal government will take to help ease Americans’ medical debt burden.

“No one in our country should have to go broke just to get the health care they need,” Harris said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said medical debt “often forces families to make impossible choices: Do I pay my debt? Do I buy vital medicines? »

HHS will assess the practices of medical providers and debt collectors and hold them accountable for harmful practices.

“Credit reports are now being used as a weapon to coerce people into paying bills they don’t even owe,” said Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Biden administration also wants to reduce the impact medical debt can have on a person’s credit score.

The White House said these measures are important because one in three Americans has medical debt and it is the largest source of debt collection in the United States.

“For too many families, about two-thirds of debtor medical issues, medical issues and medical debt contribute to personal bankruptcy,” Becerra said.

The CFPB will also intensify its efforts to inform patients of their rights. The Biden administration is also making ongoing efforts to help alleviate, if not eliminate, medical debt for veterans who are VA patients and qualify.

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