Collector - March 2020 - 43

GOVERNMENTAFFAIRS

Consumers could also face additional risks
during the lengthy timeframe when collection
and credit reporting are delayed. Consumers
may obtain more credit and services than
they can afford during this time, especially
because the risks may not be evident on
their credit profile. The numerous negative
economic consequences of this bill are hard
to imagine, but it certainly will at the very
least make it harder for certain consumers to
obtain medical care. Providers may fear they
will not be able to collect payment, changing
the standard of care. Moreover, the proposals
in this legislation could throw a wrench in a
functioning credit-based economy.

SENATE LEGISLATION
ACA has discussed more reasonable delays
in credit reporting with the U.S. Senate and
House. Even those delays could still pose
challenges. The Senate legislation currently
mirrors some of the flaws in the House bill.
The Medical Debt Relief Act, introduced by
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkely, D-Ore., and cosponsored
by U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.,
Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bob Menendez,

D-N.J., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would also
prohibit credit reporting for one year. However,
unlike the House bill, the Senate version
clarifies that the legislation does not impact
when a debt collector may engage in activities
to collect or attempt to collect any debt owed
or due or asserted to be owed. Many ACA
members have expressed that the one-year
delay in credit reporting is itself a problem.

ACA'S EFFORTS
ACA has been actively discussing this
legislation-and the many flaws associated
with it-with both Democrat and Republican
legislators, including members of the
House Financial Services Committee and
Senate Banking Committee. ACA sent
a letter opposing the legislation to the
House and Senate in 2019 and launched a
grassroots campaign in early 2020 to allow
ACA members to engage directly with
their members of Congress about how this
legislation would impact them and the
medical providers they serve.
ACA is also working closely with other
trade associations representing medical

providers and credit reporting agencies to
ensure that Congress understands the broad
impact this issue could have on the ability to
provide medical care to consumers, on the
accuracy of the credit reporting system and on
the economy as a whole, including consumers'
ability to access credit and services.
As the accounts receivable management
industry faces an unprecedented number
of attacks in the 116th Congress, it's critical
that ACA continues to educate lawmakers
about any flawed policies and work with the
Senate to ensure that any House bills, such as
H.R. 5330, that don't account for a multitude
of unintended consequences do not move
forward in the Senate.
Along these lines, we encourage ACA
members to attend this year's Washington
Insights Fly-In, held in Washington, D.C., May
19-21, to discuss this bill and others impacting
your ability to operate your business directly
with lawmakers.
Leah Dempsey is ACA International's
vice president and senior counsel of
federal advocacy.

Calling All Writers!

We're accepting articles from our readership.*
Collector magazine invites credit and collection professionals of all levels into a community of
experts who share their hard-won experience through in-depth process and data-driven articles.
Send your article pitch or summary to Anne Rosso May at either
» rosso@acainternational.org or
» Anne Rosso May
Collector Magazine
4040 West 70th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55435
*Qualifying participation for the Continuous Service Award

COLLECTOR 03.20

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