Empowering Communities, Celebrating Minnesota Locally

Governor Walz Ceremonially Signs Legislation to Help Minnesotans with Burden of Medical Debt

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today held a ceremonial bill signing for legislation that will help ease the burden of medical debt on Minnesotans. Governor Walz was joined by Attorney General Keith Ellison, bill authors Senator Liz Boldon and Representative Liz Reyer, and impacted Minnesotans to celebrate the signing. The provisions are part of the Minnesota Debt Fairness Act, which was signed into law this session.

“Life-saving cancer treatments or a trip to the emergency room shouldn’t cause a tanked credit score or a lifetime of debt,” said Governor Walz. “Thanks to the work of the Attorney General, legislators, and Minnesotans who’ve shared their stories, these reforms will help Minnesotans get the care they need, manage their medical debt, and feel protected in their most vulnerable moments.”

“We all agree that if you borrow money, you should pay it back. We also all agree that we shouldn’t punish people for getting sick. We also agree that a debt-collection system that makes it harder for people to pay back what they owe does nobody any good. And we also agree that debt collection shouldn’t create more debt,” said Attorney General Ellison.

“With the passage and signing today of the Debt Fairness Act, we have a fairer, more dignified, and more just system for repaying debt than we did before. My thanks go to chief authors Senator Liz Boldon and Representative Liz Reyer for their outstanding work in seeing it through to passage, and to Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan for their steadfast support. There is more work to do, and we’re not done yet — but today, Minnesotans facing debt, including medical debt, can rest easier in the knowledge that the law provides them with more protections than it did before,” Attorney General Ellison concluded.

The legislation eases the burden of medical debt for Minnesotans by:

  • Banning medical providers from withholding medically necessary care due to unpaid debt;
  • Preventing medical debt from impacting credit scores
  • Eliminating automatic transfers of medical debt to a patient’s spouse
  • Establishing strong new protections from unethical medical debt collections practices
  • Requiring medical providers to publish their medical debt collection practices
  • Creating a new process to help people dispute medical coding and billing errors

The Minnesota Debt Fairness Act makes additional debt reforms, including:

  • Establishing automatic income-based wage garnishment levels, ranging from 10% to 25%, rather than the flat 25% garnishment cap that previously existed
  • Extending Minnesota’s wage garnishment protections to independent contractors and everyone living and working in Minnesota