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SPRINGFIELD – Burdensome medical debt can quickly snowball, making it difficult for people to keep up with the cost and, in turn, affecting their credit scores. During a press conference Wednesday, State Senator Steve Stadelman outlined his measure aimed at prohibiting consumer reporting agencies from including adverse information related to medical debt in credit reports.

“Medical debt should not be a barrier to financial stability or access to credit opportunities,” said Stadelman (D-Rockford). “This bill seeks to ensure that individuals are not unfairly penalized for seeking necessary medical care or experiencing financial hardship due to health care expenses.”

Senate Bill 2933 would prohibit a consumer reporting agency from making a credit report containing any adverse information about the consumer related to medical debt.

Medical debt is often incurred unexpectedly and can accumulate quickly, leading to financial strain and hardship for many Illinois residents.

Among those people is Addison resident Amanda Ray, who has struggled with medical debt most of her adult life – making it difficult for her to afford other basic necessities, like child care.

“It is unfair to penalize me and millions of people just because we have expensive medical bills that we never expected,” said Ray. “It is unfair to allow lenders to treat me as risky just because I got hurt or had a child. That is why I am asking legislators here in Springfield, from the bottom of my heart, to look into their hearts and support this bill. It should be the law.”

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, roughly 20% of U.S. households report that they have medical debt, and over $88 billion in unpaid medical bills show up on credit reports.

“The fact is that medical debt has no bearing on whether someone is a financially responsible adult who can be trusted to manage their finances and responsibly pay their bills,” said Dan Schneider, supervisory attorney at Legal Action Chicago.

Stadelman is working to pass Senate Bill 2933 this legislative session in hopes of ensuring financial equity for Illinoisans.