In an effort to collect more than $100 million in defaulted student loans, the U.S. Department of Education has resorted to public shaming – releasing a list of 846 doctors and dentists from across the country who are delinquent with the now defunct Health Education Assistance Loan Program.
According to ABC, the delinquent medical professionals are named on the public list, alongside their medical discipline, city of residence and the amount they owe. One doctor listed owes more than $900,000.
Click here to see if your doctor or dentist is on the default list.
The HEAL program was discontinued in 1998 because of its high default rate. The loans were federally guaranteed, so taxpayers are left with a huge unpaid bill. ABC reported:
“Physicians have a higher calling in the community. They have a higher responsibility,” Tom Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste told ABC News’ “20/20.” “The Hippocratic Oath says, ‘Do no harm.’ Why should they be doing harm to taxpayers?”
Although they are delinquent on their student loan payments, “many of the doctors appear to be living lives of luxury and operate practices in high-rent places, including Malibu, Calif., or Key Biscayne, Fla.,” ABC said.
In addition to trying to shame the doctors into paying their loans, the government has also attempted to collect unpaid loan debt by seizing doctors’ tax refunds, filing lawsuits, revoking Medicare access and garnishing their bank accounts, ABC said.
The list seems to work. Thousands of dollars have been paid since the government began issuing the list after ending the program. It was last updated in September.
I live in one of just seven states that doesn’t have a doctor with defaulted student loans on the list.
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