Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders previewed a plan to cancel $81 billion worth of existing medical debt in the United States at a South Carolina town hall Friday.
The plan, which will be released in September, would cancel $81 billion in past-due medical debt, repeal sections of the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill and protect credit scores from being impacted by outstanding medical debt, according to a press release obtained by The Hill.
“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. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, 42[%] of Americans should not be losing their entire life savings two years after being diagnosed with cancer,” the press release reads.
“We will eliminate medical debt in this country. Just stop and think for a second, why should people be placed in financial duress? For what crime did you commit? You had a serious illness? That is not what this country should be about,” Sanders said at the town hall.
It is nothing less than barbaric that the leading cause of bankruptcy in America is medical debt.
These people didn’t spend all their money on luxury items. Their crime was that they got sick.
We are going to cancel all $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt.(Article Continues Below Advertisement)
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 31, 2019
An April Gallup-West Health survey found that in the past year, Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion to cover health care costs, and 76% of all Americans agree they pay too much for health care coverage.
Sanders did not explain during the town hall nor in his press release where the $81 billion he plans to use to cancel medical debt would come from.
The Democratic socialist also said during the town hall that while his Medicare for All plan, which is estimated to cost more than $32 trillion over the next decade, would mean increased taxes for the middle class, that money would be returned in the form of affordable health care for every American.
“You’re going to be paying more in taxes. But at the end of the day, you’re going to be paying less for health care than you are right now. It will be comprehensive,” he said in response to a question about how people would benefit from Medicare for All if employers already pay premiums, according to Fox 6 Now.
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