Sanders Teases Proposal to Write Off $81 Billion in Medical Debt




 

(Bloomberg) -- Senator Bernie Sanders is proposing to cancel an estimated $81 billion in past-due medical debt owed by Americans as he vies for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination using a platform focused on health care.

The plan is still being formulated and details -- including how it would be financed -- weren't addressed in an emailed release from the Sanders campaign on Saturday. The full proposal will be announced within a month.

"Your financial life and future should not be destroyed because you or a member of your family gets sick," the Vermont senator said in a statement. "I am sick and tired of seeing over 500,000 Americans declare bankruptcy each year because they cannot pay off the outrageous cost of a medical emergency or a hospital stay."

Under Sanders' plan, the federal government would negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills in collections that have been reported to credit agencies. Sanders proposes to repeal what his campaign termed "the worst elements" of a 2005 bankruptcy reform law, and allow other existing and future medical debt to be discharged. The plan also would ensure that unpaid medical bills didn't hurt people's credit scores.

The 2005 bankruptcy bill "trapped families with medical debt in long-term poverty, mandated that they pay for credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy, and increased the need for expensive legal services when filing a case for medical bankruptcy," the Sanders campaign said.

Sanders teased the idea in remarks to reporters while campaigning in Florence, South Carolina, on Friday. He'll hold events Sunday and Monday in New Hampshire and Maine.

Runner-up to Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination in 2016, Sanders is running second or third in most national polls for 2020, with 17.1% support, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

The signature proposal of his campaign is the creation of a Medicare for All system that would provide health insurance to every American, replacing private insurance with a government-run system. Health care premiums, deductibles and co-pays would end, offset by higher taxes.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ros Krasny in Washington at rkrasny1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Ludden at jludden@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Pelosi Cites Progress on Stimulus With Two Sides Still Far Apart
Pelosi Cites Progress on Stimulus With Two Sides Still Far Apart

(Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said negotiations on a new virus relief package are making progress, but the two sides remained at an impasse on major issues with their self-imposed Friday deadline for an agreement looming.With no deal immediately in the offing, President Donald Trump said

Twitter Labels Government Officials, State-Backed Media Accounts
Twitter Labels Government Officials, State-Backed Media Accounts

(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. will label some state-backed media accounts, as well as accounts belonging to "key government officials" for certain countries, to create more transparency when governments and their leaders use the social-media platform to discuss important geopolitical issues, the company

Two U.S. senators seek ban on collecting customer biometric data without consent
Two U.S. senators seek ban on collecting customer biometric data without consent

Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon said this week he is introducing the reform measure along with independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The effort comes after growing concerns about biometric data collection among private companies, including the use of facial-recognition technology. The senators cited a recent Reuters investigation into Rite Aid's facial-recognition program among other reports causing alarm about the technology's use.

Progressives say primary wins latest sign of momentum shift
Progressives say primary wins latest sign of momentum shift
  • World
  • 2020-08-05 19:52:19Z

Progressive Democrats celebrated two primary victories Wednesday, claiming the protests over George Floyd's death and a renewed focus on racial and economic justice have given their candidates new momentum after some rough patches this year. Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a member of the "squad" of four first-term congresswomen of color who have drawn attention for their liberal views and distaste for President Donald Trump, scored a convincing victory over Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones. Jones had criticized Tlaib as being too divisive.

Hezbollah Will Not Escape Blame For Beirut
Hezbollah Will Not Escape Blame For Beirut
  • World
  • 2020-08-05 11:50:00Z

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As if the Lebanese haven't suffered enough. For months, they have been caught between an economic meltdown, crumbling public services, and a surging pandemic. Now they must count the dead and survey the extensive damage to their capital after two giant explosions on Tuesday.The blasts, especially the second, were so huge they were reportedly heard and felt in Cyprus. At least 100 people are reported to have been killed-that number will almost certainly rise-and thousands injured. A large expanse of the port and its immediate neighborhood lies in smoking ruin; miles away, streets are full of shattered glass.Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government says the explosions...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy