Illinois Local News

Medical Debt Forgiveness: Illinois Gov. Signs Bill into Law; Residents Relieved after Forgiveness

Medical Debt Forgiveness: Illinois Gov. Signs Bill into Law; Residents Relieved after Forgiveness

Governor J.B. Pritzker has recently approved new legislation that mandates the state’s taxpayers to assist in alleviating the medical debt burden of numerous Illinois residents.

Describing medical debt as a problem specific to the United States, Pritzker plans to allocate $10 million from state funding in the upcoming fiscal year to acquire the medical debt of approximately 300,000 residents of Illinois.

“No Illinoisan should face financial ruin after receiving the medical care they need,” said Pritzker.

Pritzker initially introduced a medical debt buyback program in his fiscal year 2025 State of the State and Budget Address.

“We know that households burdened by medical debt are less likely to go to the doctor or seek follow-up care, and are more likely to suffer from illness,” said House Bill 5290 sponsor, state Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago. “Our communities need to know they can seek medical care whenever they need it.”

According to Simmons, in order to qualify, individuals must have a household income that is below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, or have medical debt that amounts to 5% or more of their household income. This ensures that those who are facing significant financial hardship due to medical expenses can receive relief.

Critics of the plan argue that providing taxpayer subsidies to a nonprofit organization to eliminate certain medical debt may not yield the desired outcomes as expected by its proponents as reported by The Center Square.

Pritzker has recently approved Senate Bill 2933, which prevents medical debt from being included on credit reports. Interestingly, the Biden administration is also considering a similar action at the federal level.

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