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What if Giving $10 Could Eliminate $1000 of Medical Debt for Someone?

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It might sound strange, but come on, this is 2020.

The New York Times put up an article about how churches are stepping in where the government is failing in the U.S. by paying down the medical debt of ordinary people in the United States.

This sounds like an expensive undertaking, right? One in four Americans struggle to pay their medical bills which can very easily stretch into the thousands of dollars. One in three Americans say they have put off getting care because of the cost. And the price tag is only increasing here.

So what kind of help can churches and individuals actually give to people struggling? As it turns out, a whole heck of a lot. Here is how.

When a hospital is unable to collect on a debt from someone who received service from them, they sell that debt to a collection agency for a small fraction of the actual debt. If that company cannot collect, they may sell it to another at a fraction of the amount they paid for it, and so on.

So here’s an idea. What if people bought this debt which is dirt cheap and then just forgave it, freeing households from a crippling burden during an already crippling year?

Well, there is a non-profit that is already doing that. It is called RIP Medical Debt. They buy large amounts of debt and then forgive it. John Oliver, for example, from the show Last Week Tonight, bought almost $15,000,000 (yes, that’s “million”) of debt for less than $60,000. They had the debt sent to RIP Medical debt. In a grand, elaborate show he officially forgave all of it on television.

There are a thousand ways you could help people during this Advent season. So many are struggling right now. But especially during a pandemic, this is a tangible way to help your neighbor. It is not hard to believe in this time that 66% of all U.S. bankruptcies and 25% of all credit card usage is because of medical debt.

Thank you for reading. If you want to know more about RIP Medical Debt, here is an informational video.

©2020 Catholic Anonymous

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