Looking for heroes this holiday season?
Look no further than Judith Jones and Carolyn Kenyon, who raised $12,500 to buy up medical debts from creditors on the rate of a half-cent on the dollar. Then, with the help of the non-profit RIP Medical Debt, they forgave that debt, meaning that roughly 1,284 people in debt because of a medical procedure were discharged of the $1.5 million they owed.
This holiday season, those folks will be receiving a letter in their mailbox telling them that they are free and clear of their medical debt.
Jones, 80, a retired chemist, and Kenyon, 70, a psychoanalyst, are members of the Finger Lakes chapter of the Campaign for New York Health, which supports universal health coverage through passage of the New York Health Act. They said that they wanted to do more to help, so this summer they decided to begin fundraising with the hopes of raising enough money to make a difference.
Since its inception, RIP Medical Debt has forgiven $434 million in medical debt, assisting more than 250,000 people. That remains only a fraction, though, of the more than $750 billion in past-due medical debt that it says Americans owe.
R.I.P. Medical Debt specifically seeks to buy the debts of people who earn less than two times the federal poverty level, those in financial hardship and people facing insolvency. The people, who do not know they have been selected, receive the debt relief as a tax-free gift, and it comes off their credit reports.
Amazing. And in a time when the Republicans are hell-bent on stripping millions of Americans of their health insurance, more important than ever.
This week Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who is facing 17 different federal investigations into his attempts to enrich himself though his office, refused to resign from office until he could host his department’s Christmas party, specifically to pose in front of a stuffed polar bear with donors, lobbyists, activists, and the like.
These are the kinds of human beings serving our country right now. Corrupt, self-dealing scumbags who see the federal coffers as their piggy bank.
Judith Jones and Carolyn Kenyon are reminders that regular people, doing good work on behalf of those in need, can really make a difference, especially when the government fails Americans again and again.