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Bill to eliminate liens for medical debt stalls

Proposal to end practice of putting liens on homes of patients with medical debt met by skeptical committee, vote postponed.

DENVER — A legislative effort to end the practice of putting liens on properties owned by those saddled with medical debt stalled during a committee hearing Thursday.

The Colorado House Finance Committee moved to postpone, for the time being, any vote on Rep. Kerry Tipper’s (D-Lakewood) bill to eliminate the controversial practice.

RELATED: How you can visit the hospital, then get a lien on your home

RELATED: Legislation introduced to protect patients from surprise medical bills

Legislators on the committee appeared ready to kill the measure before Rep. Tipper’s procedural request to push back any vote. Multiple representatives of Colorado collections companies told legislators Thursday the bill was overly broad and could actually raise health care prices in the long run.

Rep. Tipper’s bill follows a series of reports done by 9Wants to Know on the subject of property liens. “Lien on Me” discovered one collections company had, since the start of 2017, placed more than 170 liens on the homes of patients who had mostly visited Denver-area emergency rooms.

It’s not certain Rep. Tipper will be able to bring her legislation back by the end of the year, although she told 9Wants to Know after Thursday’s hearing she said she is trying to remain optimistic.

Earlier this month, the same committee killed Rep. Tipper’s legislation to eliminate wage garnishments for medical debt.

RELATED: Lawmakers kill proposal to protect patients from medical debt collection

For tips on this or any other story, email showusyourbills@9news.com

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