A state lawmaker in South Carolina is calling on the governor to enact a 60-day moratorium on the collection of medical debts to help people in financial distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers said that neither hospitals nor private companies, which likely includes collection agencies, should be able to collect on unpaid debts until the crisis is over. She said that the financial obligations people face, such as paying their medical debts, may lead to those people to feel “pressured to go back to work when we need people to stay home.”
A spokesman for South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster did not provide a response to the lawmaker’s request.
Rep. Henderson-Myers, a Democrat, also said that late fees should be waived during the time when the moratorium is in effect. She appears to be focusing specifically on medical debts because, as she pointed out, those tend to be incurred through no fault of the individual.
“At a time when many South Carolinians are out of work, calls and emails demanding payment — from companies and collection agencies representing companies — frustrates our state’s efforts to ask workers to stay at home,” she said, according to a published report.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in South Carolina are actively seeking ways to help residents in the state who might be facing financial strains because of the pandemic.
More than 450 individuals in South Carolina have been reported to have tested positive for the virus. The state has not yet enacted any measures seeking to keep residents inside their homes to help fight the spread of the virus.