PODCAST: Only in America: Easing the Burden of Medical Debt

Jan. 22, 2024


This episode of the Princeton Pulse Podcast takes on medical debt, a pervasive and uniquely American problem. Forty one percent of U.S. adults, or about 100 million people, are struggling to pay their medical or dental bills, which has delayed or prevented care, worsened health outcomes, and incurred financial hardship.

Noam Levey and Eva Stahl

Host Heather Howard, a professor at Princeton University and former New Jersey Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, delves into the latest research, the underlying drivers of medical debt, and its compelling consequences with two guests: Noam Levey, a senior correspondent for KFF Health News, who has reported on this topic extensively, and Eva Stahl, Vice President of Public Policy at RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities by abolishing medical debt.

The panel spotlights the personal, often heartbreaking stories of those grappling with health care debt, the inequitable impact on low-income populations and communities of color, and what we can do to alleviate this growing burden -- including federal and state policy responses.


Read an op-ed by Princeton University’s Heather Howard and Madison Linton '24 on the merits of an innovative pilot program, in partnership with RIP Medical Debt, to cancel an estimated $1 billion worth of medical debt for New Jersey residents.

Visit the KFF Health News website to see Noam Levey’s extensive reporting on medical debt.

Visit the RIP Medical Debt website to learn how the nonprofit organization is abolishing debt and impacting lives.

Read a report, prepared by RIP Medical Debt, that highlights the results of a national survey on the impact of medical debt.