State lawmakers find America’s medical debt problem ‘can no longer be ignored’

State lawmakers find America’s medical debt problem ‘can no longer be ignored’

Sep 07, 2023 by Health Care - Politico

Key Facts

  • In the absence of federal consensus and in anticipation of congressional inaction, state legislators have enacted a variety of consumer protections to mitigate or forestall medical debt.
  • The actions — in more than a dozen states — represent a determined, if patchwork, effort to help the roughly 100 million Americans who deal with medical debt, late notices, threatening voicemails and credit score declines.
  • “You can’t put a price on the anxiety people are facing when they get these bills,” said North Carolina state Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican, who is pushing legislation that would cap interest on medical debt collections, prohibit collectors from foreclosing on property or garnishing wages and regulate how medical debt is shared with consumer reporting agencies.
  • Oregon this year passed a law limiting the interest that can be charged on medical debt and requires non-profit hospitals to screen patients with bills of $500 for financial assistance eligibility.

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