Bill would forgive student loan debt for health care workers on coronavirus frontlines

Coronavirus

NEW HYDE PARK, NEW YORK – APRIL 14: Nurses arriving from around the country to help treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients arrive and will be met by staff Nurses and administrators welcoming them with a clap in at the Long Island Nursing Institute on April 14, 2020 in New Hyde Park, New York. The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A New York congresswoman introduced a bill Tuesday that would forgive student loans for health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation comes after more than 1 million people signed a MoveOn petition, asking Congress to consider widespread student loan forgiveness in the next stimulus bill. That petition prompted another House bill proposed in March, which included student loan forgiveness, but capped it at $30,000.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s bill, dubbed the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act, would forgive loans from medical school or other professional education and would have no cap on debt relief granted.

It applies to all health care professionals who are directly interacting with COVID-19 patients. This includes front-line doctors, nurses, aids, medical residents, interns and technicians, Maloney said.

Maloney believes her bill would incentivize other health care workers to join in the fight against the disease, ending the healthcare personnel staffing shortages that might occur because of COVID-19.

“Medical professionals in hospitals and other medical settings are operating in extraordinarily difficult and dangerous circumstances to provide care for critically ill COVID-19 patients and protect our communities,” Maloney said. “The least we can do to recognize their service is to forgive their graduate student loan debt so that they are not forced to worry about their financial well-being in addition to their health and the health of their families while they respond to a public health emergency.”

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