After introducing a plan during the summer to wipe out all student loan debt, Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders introduced a plan on Saturday to wipe out $81 billion in unpaid medical debts.
Along with wiping out the debt, Sanders also called for changes to how medical debt is collected going forward, such as prohibiting the collection of debt where the statute of limitations has expired and limiting the number of contact attempts that collectors can make through any communication channel.
“The very concept of medical debt should not exist,” Sanders said in a statement. “In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, one illness or disease should not ruin a family’s financial life and future.”
Sanders has also introduced a plan, “Medicare for all,” which would create a government-run healthcare system that would provide health coverage to all individuals.
“We’re addressing it on both ends,” Sanders said, according to The New York Times. “We’re addressing it now by trying to help the people who have past due medical bills. And we’re addressing it by finally creating a health care system that guarantees coverage to people without any premiums, without any deductibles, without any out-of-pocket expenses.”
For those who still have medical debts if Sanders’s plan is put into action, he plans to overhaul the bankruptcy process to allow individuals to “provide relief” for those with “burdensome” amounts of medical debts.
The plan also calls for the prohibition against reporting unpaid medical debts to credit bureaus and the creation of public registries to replace the credit reporting agencies.