A 2024 survey from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that Americans want medical debt forgiveness rather than relief on student loans.

“I was hospitalized for a blood infection for three months more than ten years ago, and the bill was for more than $300,000,” Alaska resident Janille Williams told Fortune. “I was in the middle of changing jobs, the only time in my life I haven’t had health insurance.” The bill eventually went to collections, where it was lowered to $50,000, an amount still impossible for Williams to pay back.

“They don’t give you a choice in the hospital. ‘If you leave, you’ll die,’ they told me. I didn’t feel like dying,” Williams continued. “I don’t think anyone should have to go into financial ruin to live.” (TAKE A POLL: Is It Time To Re-Evaluate Our Approach To Student Loan Debt and Its Impact on the Economy?)

Half of Americans Want Medical Debt Relief

According to the survey, half of Americans say that some type of U.S. debt relief for medical bills is very important. A further two-thirds of U.S. adults support medical debt relief if the individual patients has, say, been wrongfully billed for service. (READ MORE: Do You Feel You Have Enough Money to Take a Vacation This Year?)

But many Americans also want student loan forgiveness. Though far, far fewer Americans believe the tax-payer-funded U.S. government should pay off their medical debt, one in five still think this will sway how their vote in upcoming elections, according to The Hill.

Who Deserves Debt Relief?

“If you need to go to the emergency room because of a major health issue, that is much less of an active choice than the decision to go to college,” associate professor of public policy at the University of Chicago Lesley Turner told Fortune. “Even though, given today’s economy, going to college is in many ways a very important if not essential route to economic mobility and stability.”

Feels like a bit of a catch-22 in some ways. Why don’t you tell us how YOU feel? Use your voice to make a real-world difference today! Sign up for Poll2Action and be the change you want to see in the world.

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