On Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced a new plan that would eliminate $81 billion in Americans’ past-due medical bills. The plan would also get rid of private credit reporting agencies, replacing them with a public debt registry that would not include debt from medical costs.
The campaign released a statement that touched on some of the familiar themes the candidate has expressed in the past about how healthcare should be a human right and not a profit-making commodity.
“The very concept of medical debt should not exist,” Sanders said. “In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, one illness or disease should not ruin a family’s financial life and future.”
According to Reuters, the Sanders campaign said the proposed plan would be paid for with a tax on corporations based on their pay for chief executives. And the Los Angeles Times reported that the federal government would negotiate and pay past-due medical bills that have been reported to credit agencies.
“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 $100 billion in profits last year,” Sanders said.
Sanders has long been an advocate for equal access to healthcare and authored the Medicare for All bill. But his latest proposal takes that concept a step further by eliminating medical debt as well.