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 from repossession — a question placed on the ballot by the Fairness Project-supported Healthcare Rising Arizona campaign.
- The Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act, or Prop 209, is a citizen-initiated ballot measure that will pass if supported by a simple majority of Arizona voters in the midterm elections.
- The campaign collected more than 500,000 signatures in its successful effort to qualify the measure for the ballot earlier this summer.
- If passed, the measure would increase the value of people’s primary homes, vehicles, and household goods that would be protected from medical debt collectors. It would also allow people in debt to keep up to $5,000 in their bank accounts, an increase over the current $300 limit.
- Prop 209 would cap the interest rate on medical debt at 3% and limit wage garnishment for medical debt to a maximum of 10% of earnings.
- As many as 100 million Americans are dealing with outstanding health care debt, including millions who owe more than $10,000, according to NPR and Kaiser Health.
- More than 15% of individuals in Arizona — about a million people — had medical debt on their credit file as of December 2020, owing an average of $2,456, according to the Consumer Protection Bureau.
- Currently, Arizona law limits interest rates on loans at 10%, but an exception written into the law allows contracts to set interest rates at any level.
- The Washington Post: Medical debt is on the November ballot in Arizona
- “Arizona definitely serves as a test case,” said Kelly Hall, the executive director of the Fairness Project, a group that funds and organizes state ballot measure efforts across the country. “We do expect this to go on the ballot in other places, assuming this succeeds in Arizona.”
- Axios: Arizona voters will get to weigh in on 10 propositions
- More Perfect Union: A measure to crack down on predatory medical debt collection is on the verge of making the ballot in Arizona
- State of Reform: Measure to cap interest rates for medical debt will likely be put on November ballot