ACA continues to maintain open lines of communications with lawmakers as they consider moving forward with legislation that could impact the way the industry approaches medical debt collections.

House Legislation

In December, the House Financial Services Committee marked-up legislation titled, “Consumer Protections for Medical Debt Collections Act” (H.R. 5330), which would prohibit medical debt reporting for a year, and would ban reporting on debt arising out of “medically necessary procedures.”

Introduced by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the legislation would also prohibit collecting medical debt for two years.  These proposed restrictions would make it difficult for accounts receivable management industry professionals seeking to collect rightfully owed debt while creating a disastrous situation for medical providers caring for patients.

Senate Legislation

Meanwhile, ACA has had numerous discussions with lawmakers in the House and Senate regarding more reasonable delays in credit reporting such as 60 or 180 days—despite potential challenges posed by these delays. The Medical Debt Relief Act, introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkely (D-Ore.), and co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Dick Durbin D-Ill.), would prohibit credit reporting for one year.

However, unlike the House bill, the Senate version clarifies that the legislation does not impact when a debt collector may engage in activities to collect or attempt to collect any debt owed or due or asserted to be owed.

ACA’s Efforts

ACA is actively discussing this legislation and the many flaws associated with it, with both Democrats and Republicans, including lawmakers who sit on the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee.

ACA sent a letter opposing the legislation to both the House and Senate last fall and launched a grassroots campaign in early 2020 to allow ACA members to engage directly with their members of Congress about how this legislation would impact them and the medical providers they serve (the letter is accessible on ACA’s advocacy page or here:  https://tinyurl.com/wlm77d8).

ACA is also working closely with other trade associations representing medical providers and credit reporting agencies to ensure that Congress understands the broad impact this issue could have on the ability to provide medical care to consumers, the accuracy of the credit reporting system, and the economy.

As the industry continues to face an unprecedented number of attacks in the 116th Congress, it is critical for ACA to educate lawmakers about flawed policies and to work with the Senate to ensure that House bills such as H.R. 5330 do not move forward in the Senate.

ACA members are encouraged to attend the Washington Insights Fly-In May 19-21, 2019, in Washington, D.C., to discuss this bill and other issues with lawmakers. Watch for updates on the Fly-In!