Gov. Walz, AG Ellison address medical, consumer debt Friday morning

On Friday morning, Governor Tim Walz addressed the public on the burden of medical and consumer debt on Minnesotans.

Walz was joined at 11 a.m. by Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, legislators, and Minnesota residents to introduce their support for the Debt Fairness Act, which officials say would focus on banning medical debt from affecting credit scores and cutting interest on medical debt.

The act would also include:

  • Ban medical debt from being reported to credit bureaus
  • Reduce interest on medical debts from 8 to 0 percent
  • Ban the withholding of medical services due to unpaid debt
  • Remove all medical debt creditors’ ability to intercept tax refunds through revenue recapture
  • Repeal statutory liability for one’s spouse’s medical debt
  • Require insurers to count copay assistance paid on behalf of a patient to count toward their annual deductible and out-of-pocket limits
  • Prohibit charging patients fees for coding errors

“There’s no way to predict a trip to the emergency room. I’m proud to support this legislation to help Minnesotans manage the unpredictable financial burden of medical care that can wipe out everything from your credit score to your savings account,” said Governor Walz. “This plan will lower costs, help Minnesotans manage their medical debt, and protect them in their most challenging moments.”

“Medical debt is one of the most common barriers to financial security for families. As a mother and daughter who cared for my parents as they aged, I know these costs add up fast,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “I’m proud to support a proposal that will protect Minnesotans and lift financial burdens off families’ shoulders. This proposal is about helping families save money, build wealth, and feel secure in their day to day lives.”

“People rarely have a choice about taking on medical debt. Minnesotans trying to catch up with their medical debts should be able to do so without being exploited or pulled into poverty,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. “This plan will strengthen protections for people dealing with medical debt and make it fairer, easier, and more dignified for Minnesotans to gain their financial footing and not get trapped in an unfair, vicious cycle.”