New poll reveals strong support for medical debt relief across the U.S., highlighting a significant burden on millions of Americans and sparking renewed calls for legislative action.

By Alexandra Jacobo, Nation of Change

A new poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveals strong support for medical debt relief across the U.S. According to the poll, a majority of Americans believe it is crucial for the government to provide relief to those burdened with medical debt, highlighting the significant financial strain on millions of citizens.

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The survey found that 51% of Americans think it’s extremely or very important for the U.S. government to offer medical debt relief, while another 30% believe it is somewhat important. This widespread support comes as a beacon of hope for the roughly 14 million Americans who owe $1,000 or more in medical debt—a common cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.—and the even greater number who have medical debt on their credit reports.

Janille Williams, a 38-year-old retail sales manager in Fairbanks, Alaska, is among those facing substantial medical debt. Williams accumulated $50,000 in medical debt following a life-saving hospitalization for a blood infection. “They don’t give you a choice in the hospital. ‘If you leave, you’ll die,’ they told me. I didn’t feel like dying,” he said. “I don’t think anyone should have to go into financial ruin to live.”

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