New bill would forgive student loan debt for frontline healthcare workers

All over the world people are praising and thanking the healthcare heroes in their communities.

Now a New York congresswoman wants to take that a step further by wiping away student loan debt for frontline medical workers.

“We need to do more to support them,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, (D) New York, in a virtual press conference.

According to the bill, the loan forgiveness would apply to a wide range of health professionals treating coronavirus patients… as well as lab workers and medical researchers dealing with COVID19 and EMS responders.

“This bill has absolutely no cap on the amount of debt relief granted,” Maloney said.

Evan Schrader is about to graduate from medical school in Florida. He hasn’t worked with any COVID19 patients yet but expects he will in the future.  

“We want to be out there on the frontlines taking care of people no matter the cost,” Schrader said. “Any relief and kind of recognition from that that would make things easier for our livesI think would be amazing.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges says the median medical school debt is $200,000.

The organization sent FOX 35 a statement saying they back the new bill. “In addition to the regular risks of providing medical care, many doctors are taking on unexpected new roles to address the pandemic — some voluntarily traveling across the country to help in hot spots,” said Matthew Shick, Senior Director of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs for the AAMC.

“It’s life changing. I don’t think there are words to explain how its going to change the future,” said Hailey Hester, a local nurse who traveled to New York to care for Coronavirus patients.

She and some other local nurses we talked to have mixed feelings on the proposal. She’s concerned that other frontliners, like police officers and firefighters, are being left out.

“Just everybody that had to work during COVID should get hazard pay,” Hester said. “Everyone that was exposed should get hazard pay. I feel like that’s an easier process.”

 Some lawmakers have proposed hazard pay for frontline workers.