Hospitals: Be lenient on low-income people with medical debt

 

Source: Marceline White, Baltimore Sun Op-Ed

Hospitals are profiting off of patients’ poverty because if they can’t pay the debt outright these medical debt lawsuits add interest rates, attorney fees and other fees to medical debt owed. Medical debt lawsuits disproportionately affect Black households.

One simple action hospitals could take is to end medical debt lawsuits under $5,000. If a judge rules that the patient owes the debt (which happens more often than not) the patient’s bank account can be wiped out, their wages garnished or a lien can be filed against their home or car. Our report, Preying on Patients, found that over the past nine years, Maryland hospitals sued 145,746 patients over a median debt of $944.

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