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Rep. Porter Introduces Bill to Provide Medical Debt Relief

Congresswoman’s legislation would protect the credit of patients with medical debt

WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today introduced bipartisan legislation with more than 60 of her colleagues that would remove paid off or settled medical debt from a patient’s credit report, as well as institute a 360-day waiting period before new medical debt can be reported. 

“Nobody chooses to get sick and take on medical debt,” Congresswoman Porter said. “It is wrong for families to be saddled with years and years of additional financial hardships because of an illness or injury they weren’t able to plan for. Because of the Administration’s failure to waive cost-sharing requirements for patients, we’re already seeing Americans with thousands of dollars in medical bills.”

Porter was joined by Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR), who re-introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“Imagine recovering from an intense medical event and paying off all of your medical bills, only to be haunted by that debt for years on end,” Sen. Merkley said. “Tens of millions of Americans have lived this reality—a nightmare that is only going to get worse as we battle the coronavirus pandemic. No patient or family should lose their credit opportunities because they got sick, so especially now, Congress should pass the Medical Debt Relief Act.”

Congresswoman Porter’s legislation also earned the support of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the Consumer Federation of America, Americans for Financial Reform, and the National Patient Advocate Foundation.

A longtime commercial law professor and consumer protection advocate, Porter has made consumer protection a top priority in Congress. She stood up to leaders of both parties to speak up against a bill that would prevent the IRS from creating its own program to allow Americans to file their taxes for free. At a Financial Services Committee hearing last year, she exposed Director Kraninger for her unfamiliarity with the basics of consumer lending. She called out Equifax CEO Mark Begor for arguing in federal court that his company’s data breach did not harm consumers.