More than four in ten adults have medical debt, according to recent research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
That has prompted several states to take action. Arizona voters recently approved a ballot measure capping interest rates on medical debt and protecting more personal property from creditors. New York has enacted legislation prohibiting healthcare providers from placing liens on primary residences or garnishing wages to collect debts. Lawmakers in Toledo, Ohio, plan to use federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act to retire medical debt.
But the extent of this supposed crisis is overblown. Medical bills account for a small share of Americans’ debt burden. And by and large, they’re not driving people into financial ruin.