Pennsylvania Allocates $4 Million to Cancel State Residents’ Medical Debt 

By Consumers for Quality Care, on February 28, 2024

Pennsylvania Allocates $4 Million to Cancel State Residents’ Medical Debt 

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro recently unveiled a plan to tackle medical debt in the Commonwealth, WHYY reports.  

Unpaid medical bills constitute the largest share of debt collections in the United States. The situation is particularly acute in Pennsylvania, where an estimated one million residents collectively owe $1.8 billion in medical debt. In Pennsylvania’s rural communities, the share of residents with medical debt is disproportionately high. In Warren County, for example, 20 percent of residents are carrying medical debt. 

Governor Shapiro’s initiative earmarks $4 million in state funds to purchase and erase medical debt for thousands of Pennsylvania residents. The proposed investment, though relatively modest, is expected to wipe out millions more in unpaid medical bills. In recent remarks to state lawmakers, Shapiro highlighted how medical debt hurts Pennsylvania families. He described it as an “anchor” holding these families back, tanking credit scores, and hindering their ability to achieve financial stability. 

The proposed initiative aligns with a broader national trend, which itself reflects a growing acknowledgment that medical debt must be addressed. His announcement in Pennsylvania follows a groundbreaking initiative in Connecticut, where Governor Ned Lamont announced the cancellation of approximately $650 million in medical debt for 250,000 residents.  

CQC applauds efforts to lessen the harms of medical debt for consumers and urges lawmakers and the Biden administration to enact policies that will protect consumers from crushing medical debt.