California Finance Local News

Medical Debt Relief Plan Up in Los Angeles County; To Benefit 150K Residents Burdened in $5 Million of Debts

Medical Debt Relief Plan Up in Los Angeles County; To Benefit 150K Residents Burdened in $5 Million of Debts

A county in California has recently given the green light to a plan that will provide relief to individuals burdened with significant medical debts. The plan aims to forgive outstanding debts amounting to millions of dollars.

Los Angeles County officials have made a unanimous decision to allocate $5 million towards purchasing medical debts, potentially providing relief for 150,000 residents burdened with outstanding health care bills. A pilot program called Undue Medical Debt is purchasing the debts, relieving patients by buying their medical debt for a fraction of the original amount and then canceling it.

The plan, submitted by Supervisor Janice Hahn and co-authored by Supervisor Holly Mitchell, received approval from the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Other regions are also making efforts to eliminate medical debts for their residents, not just L.A. County. Cook County, Illinois, has allocated $12 million from American Rescue Plan Funds to address healthcare debts for its residents.

As of 2021, the residents of L.A. County are burdened with a staggering $2.6 billion in medical debt, according to the Department of Public Health. Hahn has reported that the medical debt for L.A. County residents has reached a staggering $2.9 billion, impacting a significant portion of the adult population in 2022.

Hahn recently highlighted the impact of medical debt on certain vulnerable populations. According to a news release, families with children, lower-income individuals, and those from Latino, Black, American Indian, and Pacific Islander communities, as well as individuals with chronic health conditions, are particularly affected.

A recent survey revealed that a significant portion of the American population believes that the federal government should take more action to address the issue of medical debt nationwide as reported by NewsWeek.

According to a recent survey conducted by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, a significant majority of U.S. residents, 51 percent, consider it of utmost importance for the government to provide assistance in alleviating medical debt.

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