Organizer Astra Taylor discusses 'enormous amounts' of medical debt and student loan myths

Author and organizer Astra Taylor highlighted the crippling nature of debt, especially medical debt, in an interview on Hill.TV's "Rising."

"Medical debt is an example of a kind of debt that nobody is taking on willingly," Taylor said.

"People have enormous amounts of debt from medical emergencies, from the ambulances that they take to get there," she added, noting that medical debt was "the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country."

"These debts shouldn't exist on a moral level and in many countries and countries with universal healthcare, they don't exist," Taylor said.

She added that a large share of what is considered credit card debt is often medical debt as people use their credit cards to pay for their medical care that they perhaps cannot afford or do not have the insurance to cover. 

Taylor also discussed debt from education expenses and the "myth" that some people use as reasoning for not wanting to cancel student loan debt of students who received elite educations at Ivy League schools like Harvard.

"The truth is undergraduates don't come out of Harvard with very much student debt. Harvard has an enormous endowment that covers much of the student body, and a lot of the students that go to Harvard are rich. They have parents that can pay the tuition. They're legacy admissions," Taylor said.

"People who take out student loans do it because they have to," she added, noting that the "vast majority of people in this country go to public schools, to state schools, to for-profit colleges."

Federal student loan payments have been paused for almost two years per a mandate from the CARES Act. In August, the Biden administration issued its final extension of this reprieve and loan repayments are set to resume in January.