Summary of the White House State Convening on Medical Debt

Reducing Medical Debt: A Priority for the Biden Administration

Reducing Medical Debt: A Priority for the Biden Administration

As part of President Biden’s Bidenomics agenda to lower costs for American families, the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, National Economic Council, and Domestic Policy Council recently gathered over 80 federal and state officials to discuss the importance of reducing medical debt. It’s a pressing issue, with one in three adults, nearly 100 million Americans, struggling with unpaid medical bills. Medical debt not only hinders everyday Americans from securing loans and seeking medical services, but it also prevents them from affording the essentials they need to get by. President Biden and Vice President Harris firmly believe that access to healthcare should be a right and that no one should have to go into debt to receive the care they need.

Tackling Medical Debt: A Collaborative Effort

During the event, Administration officials emphasized the significance of addressing medical debt to reduce costs and improve the health and well-being of Americans. They expressed gratitude to state leaders for their partnership in tackling this issue. Participating state leaders shared their own successful efforts in tackling medical debt, including legislative achievements in California, Colorado, and Washington. These states have taken action by addressing medical payment products, unfair debt collection practices, surprise billing and facility fees, and charity care.

Biden-Harris Administration’s Commitment to Lowering Healthcare Costs

This roundtable discussion is another step in the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing commitment to lowering healthcare costs. The Administration has already taken various actions to achieve this goal:

  • On December 7, 2023, President Biden announced new actions to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs by addressing consolidation in the healthcare market, which drives up costs.
  • On December 6, 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that over 7 million Americans have signed up for coverage through an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan since the start of the 2024 Open Enrollment Period. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, these individuals will continue to see lower healthcare premiums in 2024. Enrollment in ACA plans has increased by 50% since President Biden took office, with over 16 million people enrolled last year.
  • On November 16, 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report highlighting the challenges faced by American families when debt collectors pursue allegedly unpaid medical bills.
  • On September 21, 2023, Vice President Harris and CFPB Director Chopra announced that CFPB will propose a rule to remove medical bills from credit reports.
  • On August 29, 2023, Medicare announced the first 10 drugs selected for drug price negotiation.
  • On July 7, 2023, President Biden announced that CFPB, HHS, and Treasury issued a Request for Information (RFI) to address the rise of providers offering medical credit cards, which contribute to increased debt. They are currently evaluating comments received.
  • On July 7, 2023, President Biden announced that HHS, the Department of Treasury, and the Department of Labor proposed a new rule to crack down on junk insurance and issued guidance to limit surprise medical billing (implementing the No Surprises Act).
  • On February 14, 2023, the White House announced that the Small Business Administration (SBA) will reduce the role of medical debt in their main guaranteed loan program (7a). They will discourage the consideration of medical debt and invest in Lender Match technology to help borrowers find lenders that do not consider medical debt.

Key Speakers at the Roundtable

  • Lael Brainard, Assistant to the President and National Economic Advisor
  • Neera Tanden, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council
  • Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Diane Thompson, Senior Advisor to the Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Tom West, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Department of Treasury
  • Lynn Sha, Counselor to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Rob Bonta, California Attorney General
  • Mike Weissman, Colorado House of Representatives
  • Tarra Simmons, Washington House of Representatives

Read More of this Story at – 2023-12-08 20:41:26

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