‘An Arm and a Leg’: How One State Protects Sufferers From Hospital Lawsuits


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In Maryland, hospitals had been suing people — taking them to court and garnishing wages — even though these patients legally qualified for financial assistance, also known as charity care. Those lawsuits are now illegal, because of the state’s new Medical Debt Protection Act. But in many other states, it still happens. 

This episode, the fourth in our series on charity care, focuses on how that change came about — as well as the coalition of consumer-protection advocates, riled-up activists and health care worker unions that made it happen.

We close out the episode by checking in with Jared Walker and his organization, Dollar For. Walker went super-viral on TikTok, telling people how to “crush medical bills” by understanding and applying for the financial assistance most hospitals are required by law to provide. Ten million people saw that video and now Dollar For is working to build an army of volunteers to tackle more than $100 million in medical debt — one bill at a time. 

Want to learn more, directly from Jared Walker?  Sign up for his next training, scheduled for Oct. 14. 

Here’s the transcript for this episode.  

“An Arm and a Leg” is a co-production of KHN and Public Road Productions.

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KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.


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