Press Release

Nation’s largest nurses union applauds Biden administration’s medical debt reforms

Nurses rally with signs that read "Patients over profits!"

National Nurses United (NNU), the country’s largest union of registered nurses, applauds the Biden administration’s recent action to remove medical bills from most credit reports, a huge win for patients nationwide. A new rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will increase privacy protections, prohibit consumer reporting agencies from including medical debt on credit reports, and prevent debt collectors from coercing payments for inaccurate or false medical bills.

“Our patients should not have to suffer by being reported to creditors due to medical debt,” said NNU President Nancy Hagans, RN. “Every day at the bedside, we nurses witness the devastation medical debt wreaks on our patients. They should not have to declare bankruptcy for receiving the health care they need. Nor should they have to choose between basic financial security and lifesaving treatment. Our patients should not be at risk of coercion or harassment from creditors after receiving a necessary surgery or procedure. This critical action by the Biden administration is a first major step toward removing barriers for our patients to get the care they need without financial ruin for them and their families. Nurses know that health care is a basic human right.”

Medical debt has had an enormous impact on patients across the country. According to the 2023 Commonwealth Fund Health Care Affordability Survey, patients often delay or avoid getting health care because of medical debt, including more than one-third (34 percent) of people with medical debt in employer plans, 39 percent in marketplace or individual-market plans, 31 percent in Medicaid, and 32 percent in Medicare.

Nurses know that many of our patients who face damaging medical debt on their credit reports are uninsured or underinsured when they receive hospital or other care. Existing racial and socioeconomic health disparities are exacerbated when health care providers and medical debt collectors report unpaid medical bills to credit reporting agencies. This practice causes havoc in the financial lives of working people by limiting housing options, increasing interest rates on mortgages and car loans, and at times limiting employment opportunities. The proposed rule would eliminate medical debt from credit reports for 46 million Americans and will drastically improve their financial stability as a result.

NNU looks forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration to ensure that no patient is pushed into debt by our greedy, profit-driven health care system.  

National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates include California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.