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  • Sanders’ plan would also establish a public registry to replace the three major credit report agencies.

    Sanders’ plan would also establish a public registry to replace the three major credit report agencies. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 September 2019

About 80 million U.S. citizens say they struggle to pay their medical charges while medical bills contribute to 66 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S.

Senator and United States democrat presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders revealed Saturday his plan to cancel all past-due medical debt in the U.S., pledging an end to the "immoral and unconscionable" practice of debt collection from families who suffered illness or disease.

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"The very concept of medical debt should not exist," the senator said adding that "in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, one illness or disease should not ruin a family's financial life and future."

Days after he asked his supporters on social media about the money they owe debt collectors due to medical emergencies or illnesses, the senator announced his proposal to eliminate a total of US$81 billion in medical debt borne by U.S. households.

More than 50,000 people responded to Sander’s inquiry sharing stories of their medical debts that have proven impossible to pay, plummeting their credit scores and affecting their daily lives.

About 80 million U.S. citizens say they struggle to pay their medical charges and reports show that medical bills contribute to 66 percent of bankruptcies in the country.

"It is immoral and unconscionable that families across the country are finding themselves nearly broke or bankrupt because of crippling medical debt while the healthcare industry made more than US$100 billion in profits last year," Sanders stated. "My administration will take on the greed of the healthcare industry." 

Sanders’ plan would also establish a public registry to replace the three major credit report agencies, such as Equifax, and "remove the profit motive from assessing the creditworthiness of U.S. consumers."

The senator would also forbid medical debts to be included on credit reports and end the practice of credit checks for housing, job applications, and other non-lending practices.

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