Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Proposed Rule is Important Step in Reducing Devastating Impact of Medical Debt

June 11, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a proposed rule today to lessen the impact of medical debt on an individual’s credit. If finalized as is, the rule would remove all medical debt from credit reports and prohibit creditors from using medical debt to judge peoples’ credit worthiness or credit score. The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, President of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). 

“Removing all medical debt from credit reports would be a significant step in reducing the impact the high cost of care, especially cancer care, has on an individual. A recent ACS CAN survey found nearly half of cancer patients and survivors surveyed have had medical debt related to their cancer. We know medical debt leads to cascading financial impacts. In the survey, nearly half of those who had medical debt said their credit score was impacted and 30% experienced credit problems and difficulty qualifying for loans and 8% even lost their home or had to live somewhere they did not feel safe due to their medical debt. 46% of cancer patients and survivors with cancer-related medical debt felt harassed by creditors and debt collectors (who threaten credit scores as a common tactic). This simply must end. 

“CFPB’s proposed rule would help lessen the long-lasting, devastating effects of medical debt – particularly on individuals’ and families’ financial wellbeing – which is why ACS CAN has been urging federal, state and local policymakers to enact policies that remove all medical debt as a factor in considering an individual’s credit worthiness. We’re encouraged to see CFPB take this action and urge CFPB to quickly finalize this rule. At the same time, lawmakers at all levels of government must take action to prevent medical debt in the first place if we are to end this spiral of financial toxicity that too often accompanies cancer diagnoses and other chronic illnesses.”