June 12, 2024 — Featured News

Appearing in PBS News on June 12, 2024, Laura Santhanam interviews NCLC senior attorney Berneta Haynes discuss a proposed rule from CFPB and the Biden administration to ban medical debt from credit reports that could translate to more financial relief for the 15 million Americans with $49 billion in unpaid medical bills in collections.

Berneta Haynes with the National Consumer Law Center said this ban would especially help people of color, who often face a disproportionate burden of medical debt through higher rates of chronic illness and persistent wealth gaps compared to white people. In states that have not expanded Medicaid, Haynes said, these inequities are more prevalent because people are more likely to be uninsured. As a result, they are more exposed to risk of financial harm if they get sick or endure a medical emergency. That risk often makes people less likely to seek medical care, even if they need it.

If a family with little wealth got a $1,000 medical bill, Haynes said, “that could send them into a tailspin. Even if they eventually pay it, it’s likely to show up on their credit report before they’re able to do it.”

Berneta Haynes, senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center

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