The Nitty Gritty of Biden’s Plan to Cancel Student Debt

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Also, a grim reminder of the human cost of medical debt.

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In Canceling Student Loan Debt, the Devil is in the Details

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced a long-awaited student debt cancellation plan to address the nation’s growing student debt crisis. According to statistics collected by Nerd Wallet, student loan debt totals $1.78 trillion and continues to grow. The lion’s share of this debt is owed to the federal government, the largest lender to higher education.

But as indicated by PBS, this proposal will not solve the entire problem. First, up to $10,000 of federal student debt will be forgiven, if the holder earns less than $125,000 per year, or $250,000, if married and filing jointly. Pell Fellows will be eligible for up to $20,000 in student debt relief. (Private loans will not be considered for relief.)

The pause in repayment of student loans issued in response to Covid-19 will also be extended until December 31, and repayment options will be reassessed based on new lower balances.

An estimated 43 million people will benefit from this plan, but women, especially women of color, could benefit the most from this relief. An analysis of 19th News finds that women hold two-thirds of student loan debt, with women of color bearing the most debt.

New study finds the sickest are among the most in debt

A new A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found strong correlations between chronic disease and financial well-being.

Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at the insurance claims of 2.86 million adults and found that the more chronic conditions an individual has, the worse their financial hardship becomes. About 17% of people without any chronic conditions had a low credit score, compared to 47% of people with seven to 13 chronic conditions, Axios reports.

The trend was also seen in other categories of financial health, including medical debt owed. Comparing medical debt recoveries, people with chronic conditions had an average medical debt of $1,252, about 60% more than people without chronic conditions (784%). The conditions linked to the largest increases in medical debt in recoveries were serious mental illness, substance use disorder, stroke, congestive heart failure and liver disease, Axios Remarks.

North Hollywood strip club dancers move to union

Dancers at Star Garden, a strip club in North Hollywood, say their employers failed to provide them with adequate job protections, according to information from the Los Angeles Times.

The allegations include discriminatory hiring practices, inadequate privacy protections – allowing clients to film them – not doing enough to protect them from physical harm and more. Those who have spoken out against the current working conditions say Star Garden retaliated by firing them all together.

After complaining to management, filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, filing a complaint with Cal/OSHA, and protesting fair working conditions at the Outside the club, a majority of past and present Star Garden dancers take another step toward solidarity: unionize — or at least attempt to join an existing union.

On August 17, the dancers filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to join the Actors’ Equity Assn., an established labor union for actors and the entertainment industry. If successful, Star Garden will be the first unionized strip club since 1996, when San Francisco’s now-closed Lusty Lady Peepshow joined the Service Employees International Union.

Marielle Argueza is an intern at INN/Columbia Journalism School in Next City for Summer-Fall 2022. She is a New York-based journalist with over ten years of experience. His beats have included education, immigration, labor, criminal justice and climate. Her work in K-12 education is award-winning and she has been recognized multiple times by the California News Publishers Association. She is a recent graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where she was a Toni Stabile Investigative Fellow. While earning her master’s degree, she relied on her extensive knowledge of local journalism to report stories at the city, state and country level. Her work includes a story about Harlem’s last assisted living facility for people living with HIV/AIDS; a profile on New York State’s first Farmers Union; and a database of deaths in the Milwaukee County Jail. She is also the recipient of other scholarships and fellowships from several notable organizations in the news industry, including the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN), ProPublica, and the Journalism and Women Symposium ( JAWS).

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