A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that seeks to cancel any outstanding student loan debt for frontline healthcare workers.
The bill, H.R. 2418, called the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act, was introduced yesterday by Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-N.Y.]. The bill includes 23 cosponsors, all of them Democrats.
Rep. Maloney previously introduced this bill last May after the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States. While the text of the re-introduced bill is not yet available, the original version sought to forgive any federal or private student loans for any frontline healthcare workers, which included doctors, nurses, lab workers conducting coronavirus tests, emergency medical services workers, medical or nursing students, and researchers conducting research related to COVID-19.
“I don’t need to remind anyone of the fear and uncertainty during those first few months of the pandemic, as the disease ravaged our communities and overwhelmed our hospitals,” said Rep. Maloney in a statement. “While the majority of New York City was told that the best way to help was to stay home, our city’s frontline healthcare workers exposed themselves and risked their health – and their families’ health – every single day in order to save lives. Being a frontline health worker during this pandemic meant that every day was life-or-death. Yet, they had no reprieve. These healthcare workers should not have to worry about their financial stability and be struggling to pay down their debt while fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. And so today, I am reintroducing the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act.”
Rep. Maloney did not hide her hopes that forgiving the student loans for frontline healthcare workers was just the tip of the sword for broader student loan debt cancellation.
I hope that this bill will be a steppingstone to student loan debt cancellation for all,” she said. If we can garner widespread support for this legislation, and therefore recognition of the immense financial and mental strain student loan debt can inflict, that is huge step forward for broader student debt forgiveness.”