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Thousands of Troops May Be Caught in Medical Debt. Sen. Elizabeth Warren Wants the Pentagon to Find Out How Many

December 5, 2023

Patricia Kime

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing at Capitol Hill in Washington, April 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

By Patricia Kime, / December 4, 2023

The Pentagon isn't tracking medical debt among troops despite federal recommendations that it should, and now Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., the chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services Committee's personnel panel, wants to change that.

Warren has been pressing the Pentagon for an update on medical debt and wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in March asking about recommendations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, that called for better collection of the data to safeguard service members' financial stability and credit ratings.

But Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gil Cisneros sent back this response: The Pentagon doesn't collect data on the medical debt owed by service members and their families. Troops can self-report debt, he added, but "the data is not complete enough to accurately report the extent or amount" of the total medical debt held by personnel.

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