The Consumer Financial Services Bureau does not have statutory authority to regulate healthcare, either directly or through financial services providers, and could better use its resources expanding consumer access to credit, the American Bankers Association said today in comments to the bureau. Earlier this year, the CFPB and the Health and Human Services and Treasury Departments issued a request for information on medical credit cards, loans and other financial products used to pay for healthcare. Among the agencies’ stated goals was to explore policy options they said would protect consumers from harm.

In its comments, ABA said HHS and Congress are the appropriate bodies to address the issues raised in the request, which fall squarely in the realm of healthcare policy. The consumer issues raised—from rising healthcare costs to error-prone medical billing systems—can only be addressed through healthcare policy, not financial services policy, the association noted. There is “no evidence cited that suggests that the availability of credit or other payment products offered by banks create these challenges; but they can help consumers access health-related products and services.”

The CFPB “should avoid policies that would discourage lending and reduce consumers’ credit options,” ABA said. “Reducing access to these credit products would reduce access to medical care and health-related products for consumers. Instead, the CFPB should pursue policies that promote a variety of fair and responsible options to pay for healthcare-related products and services, permitting consumers to choose the option that meets their needs.”


Source link