A number of financial services industry trade groups, including ACA International, have filed comments letting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau know that they believe the Bureau might be outside of its authority in seeking to regulate medical providers as it and other branches of the federal government investigate what, if anything, should be done about medical debt, including the use of medical credit cards.
A copy of the comment submitted by ACA International can be accessed by clicking here.
Back in July, the CFPB held a hearing and published a Request for Information into “high-cost specialty financial products,” such as credit cards aimed at helping patients cover their medical expenses, because they may be “pushed on patients as a way to pay for routine medical care” and because they “drive up health care costs and medical debt.”
The CFPB has “not engaged in meaningful conversations” with the appropriate stakeholders in advance of considering such a proposal, ACA noted in its letter. The hearing held by the CFPB back in July did not include any healthcare providers or financial services companies, just government employees and consumer groups.
Noting that restricting how debts are collected ultimately restricts the availability of credit to consumers, ACA also pointed out that the CFPB is operating in murky waters when it comes to its authority to regulate the healthcare industry.
“It is also far from clear that the CFPB has the authority to regulate medical providers in many of the ways it contemplates in this RFI, various press releases, and statements to Congress,” ACA International Chief Executive Scott Purcell wrote. “Accordingly, ACA International continues to remind the CFPB that Congress can make major changes to the U.S. medical system if, through their elected officials, consumers ask them to do so. However, the CFPB should not on its own make arbitrary judgments in areas of questionable jurisdiction.”