Arizona will serve as a national test case when voters are asked to approve a ballot measure that backers say is intended to protect consumers from bankruptcy and poverty because of medical debt.
A ‘yes’ vote on Arizona Proposition 209 — the Predatory Debt Collection Act — on Nov. 8 would reduce maximum interest rates on medical debt for state residents and increase the value of assets protected from debt collectors.
If successful, it also could serve as a template for ballot measures in other states.
‘No one should be trapped in debt simply because they needed medical care, yet tens of millions of Americans are stuck with thousands of dollars of medical debt,’ said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, a national nonprofit that funds, organizes and advocates for ballot measures and is supporting Proposition 209.
‘If Prop. 209 succeeds in Arizona this year, we can see this issue going on the ballot in more states.’
Proposition 209 would:
- Lower the interest rate cap on medical debt.
- Increase the amount of equity in a person’s home that is protected from certain creditors, including tax liens from state and local governments.
- Increase the dollar value of personal property and assets exempt from the claims of creditors.
- Increase the amount of earnings exempt from the claims of creditor’s.