The AAMC has endorsed the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act (H.R. 6720), which would provide student loan forgiveness to health care workers on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) on May 5, would establish a program within the Departments of Education and Treasury that would forgive all public and private graduate student loans for health care workers who have made significant contributions to patient care, medical research, and testing during the COVID-19 national emergency.
Front-line health care workers eligible to apply for this forgiveness would include doctors, residents, interns, fellows, medical researchers, lab workers, and other health care professionals who are responding to COVID-19.
Upon the legislation’s introduction, Rep. Maloney said, “Frontline health workers are delivering care to the sickest patients and putting their own safety at great risk in order to keep doing their jobs. And in return, I believe that we have an obligation to ensure that they are relieved of the debt they incurred to train for this critical work – in graduate degree programs or other professional certification.”
The AAMC added, “Physicians and medical residents play a critical role on the front line of the COVID-19 national emergency. 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 county to help in hot spots.”
H.R. 6720 is one of many bills being introduced by Congress that provides loan forgiveness to health care workers. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) and Anne Kuster (D-N.H.) introduced the Opportunities for Heroes Act (HR. 6699), which would forgive $25,000 of student loans for all essential workers, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) previously introduced legislation that would expand the National Health Service Corps.