Trial to Start This Week Challenging Arizona Medical Debt Collection Initiative

A trial is scheduled for this week in Arizona to challenge adding an item to the November ballot that would give residents of the state the opportunity to increase the amounts that consumers can shield from garnishments to pay medical debts while also lowering the judgment interest rate on medical debt. A Political Action Committee called Protect our Arizona, led by representatives from the industry, has filed suit seeking to keep the initiative from being added to the ballot.

Given the timing — ballots will start being printed on August 25 — the trial and any appeal will need to be heard and ruled on by that date.

Along with representatives from the accounts receivable management industry, opponents of the measure include local and state chambers of commerce from across Arizona.

If enacted, the initiative would raise the homestead exemption to $400,000 from $150,000, would ban garnishing the wages of anyone earning less than $50,000 per year — with annual increases, and raise the exemption threshold in bank accounts to $5,000 from $300. Judgment interest rates on unpaid medical debts would be capped at 3%. The new law would also eliminate up to 70% of existing garnishments.

To help share why the initiative is a bad idea, not just for Arizona, but for all the other states that allow items to be added to the ballot by the public, AccountsRecovery.net conducted an interview with Amber Russo, of Kino Financial, who is also a member of the Board of Directors for RMA International, and a spokesperson for Protect Our Arizona. Anyone wishing to donate to help fund the group’s legal efforts can send an email to info@protectouraz.com.

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