Senator applauds credit bureaus for taking first step, calls for regulatory action
While the three major credit bureaus recently announced the pending removal of 70% of medical debt from consumer credit reports, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says more can be done to protect patients.
Brown, who chairs the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, issued remarks before the committee today highlighting the economic impact of medical debt and calling on regulators to do more to protect consumers.
In the United States, an estimated 43 million Americans hold $88 billion dollars of medical debt on their credit reports, and this problem is growing. It can happen to anyone. Low-income families, Black and Hispanic households, veterans, young adults, and older Americans are hit particularly hard.
And debt collectors make this already exhausting experience worse.
They call over and over, they make threats, they even contact patients’ employers.
It should be obvious — anyone can get sick. Anyone can get in a car accident. It has nothing to do with your ability to pay your bills — or it shouldn’t.
No one should be forced into poverty or harassed by shady debt collectors because of a medical emergency, or a sick family member.
Brown indicated that he is calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to create an ombudsman position for medical debt and is also working with Senate colleagues to expand Medicaid in the 12 states that have refused to use the Affordable Care Act provisions to do so themselves.