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Bernie Sanders pledges to cancel $81 billion in U.S. medical debt

 Democratic Presidential hopeful US Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders speaks on-stage during the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco, California on August 23, 2019.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted on Saturday about plans to cancel "all $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt."

"In the United States of America, your financial life and future should not be destroyed because you or a member of your family gets sick. That is unacceptable. I am sick and tired of seeing over 500,000 Americans declare bankruptcy each year because they cannot pay off the outrageous cost of a medical emergency or a hospital stay."
— Sen. Bernie Sanders statement

The big picture: Sanders' plan is designed to address debt under the current system and the policy is still in the works, but it will be separate from Sanders' "Medicare for All" plan, CNN notes.

  • Sanders has yet to reveal details of how the proposal would be financed, but he said the federal government would negotiate and pay off past-due medical debt that's been reported to credit agencies.
  • He plans to repeal some elements of the 2005 bankruptcy reform bill and allow other existing and future medical debt to be discharged, per the New York Times.

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