UCLA Luskin Public Policy Professor Wesley Yin spoke to the Los Angeles Times about a proposal by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to purchase and forgive more than $2 billion in medical debt owed by constituents. A growing number of local and state governments have launched similar efforts to purchase such debt at a steep discount, relieving patients and their families of a heavy burden. Yin, who has researched the impact of these programs, said they are particularly beneficial if they erase debt early on, when patients are still working to pay it off. If L.A. County focuses on purchasing the cheapest debt, the kind of years-old medical bills that most people have long forgotten about, “it might not impact people’s financial situations that much anymore,” he said. In addition to debt forgiveness programs, solutions such as hospital financial assistance programs and health insurance expansions would help ensure that bills are paid more quickly, Yin said.