Phoenix, AZ — Arizona voters will decide this November whether to enact strong protections against predatory medical debt collectors, including capping interest rates and shielding assets like homes and cars.
The Arizona Secretary of State certified that the Fairness Project-supported campaign Healthcare Rising Arizona submitted enough valid signatures to qualify its initiative for the November ballot. The ballot measure, the Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act, would increase the value of people’s primary homes, vehicles, household goods, and bank accounts that would be protected from medical debt collectors. It would also cap the interest rate on medical debt at 3% and limit wage garnishment for medical debt to a maximum of 10% of earnings.
“Congratulations to Healthcare Rising Arizona on this important milestone. The Fairness Project is incredibly proud to be working with our partners on this campaign because no one should lose their home or face bankruptcy because they needed medical treatment,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project. “Arizonan families deserve relief from predatory lenders, especially more than two years into a pandemic that has turned people’s lives upside down in every way. We look forward to continuing our work to build a strong coalition that will pass the Predatory Debt Collection Act in November.”
According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, more than 15% of individuals in Arizona had medical debt on their credit file as of December 2020, owing an average of $2,456. Americans have reported cutting back on basics like food and clothing, draining their savings, and declaring bankruptcy as a result of medical debt.
The Fairness Project has won 24 out of its 25 ballot measure campaigns since 2016, and worked with its partners to curb predatory lending via ballot measures in Colorado in 2018 and Nebraska in 2020.