Last week during a town hall in South Carolina, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced that he has plans to cancel America’s $81 billion in medical debt.
The proposal, which has yet to be released by Sanders’ campaign in full, would not only cancel all existing past-due medical debt but would also make changes to the 2005 bankruptcy bill.
“In another piece of legislation that we’re going to be offering we will eliminate medical debt in this country. I mean, just stop and think for a second,” said Sanders during the town hall event. “Why should people be placed in financial duress? For what crime did you commit? You got a serious illness? That is not what this country should be about.”
“In the United States of America, your financial life and future should not be destroyed because you or a member of your family gets sick,” said Sanders in a statement Saturday. “That is unacceptable.”
Although Sanders has yet to detail exactly how the medical debt will be paid off, he did hint that “under this plan, the federal government will negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills in collection that have been reported to credit agencies.”
In a one-page overview of the plan released by the Sanders’ campaign, medical debt is described as “the leading cause of consumer bankruptcy.” The overview also says that the full plan will address the 2005 bankruptcy bill that “made it much more difficult to discharge medical debt” and “trapped families with medical debt in long-term poverty.” All existing and future medical debt will be discharged.
Additionally, the plan will make sure that no one’s credit score is negatively impacted by unpaid medical bills.