Health

Stacey Abrams group donates $1.34M to wipe out medical debts

The political group led by Democratic titan Stacey Abrams is branching out into paying off medical debts

ATLANTA — The political group led by Democratic titan Stacey Abrams is branching out into paying off medical debts.

Lauren Groh-Wargo CEO of allied group Fair Fight Action and senior adviser to the PAC stated paying off medical debt is one other aspect of the group’s advocacy in search of enlargement of Medicaid protection within the 12 states which have refused to broaden the medical insurance to all poorer adults.

“What is so important about this is the tie between Medicaid expansion and just crushing medical debt,” Groh-Wargo stated.

Of the states focused, Arizona and Louisiana have expanded Medicaid.

Fair Fight stated letters will likely be despatched to these whose debts have been absolved to notify them. The buy will forgive the debt of almost 69,000 individuals in Georgia, greater than 27,000 individuals in Arizona, greater than 8,000 individuals in Louisiana, and about 2,000 individuals apiece in Mississippi and Alabama.

“I do know firsthand how medical prices and a damaged healthcare system put households additional and additional in debt,” Abrams said in a statement. “Across the sunbelt and in the South, this problem is exacerbated in states like Georgia where failed leaders have callously refused to expand Medicaid, even during a pandemic.”

RIP Medical Debt said Fair Fight is giving the third-largest donation in its history. Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gave the group $50 million last year. The group has aided more than 3 million people since it was founded in 2014, typically buying bundles of medical debt at steep discounts from the face value. The bills often are purchased from collection agencies that have been trying to get debtors to pay for years. The group has wiped out debt with a face value of more than $5.3 billion.

Allison Sesso, executive director of RIP Medical Debt, said such liabilities often drive people into bankruptcy, can deter people from seeking needed medical care, and can lead to wages being garnished or liens filed on property.

“I wouldn’t underestimate the mental anguish that people have from medical debt,” Sesso said.

Sesso said her group is not just pursuing debt abolishment “but thinking about how we can improve the system nationwide,” trying to advocate that hospitals should do more to make charity care available. She also said research shows states that expanded Medicaid have lower rates of medical debt.

“We are not the permanent solution,” Sesso stated. “There does want to be a bigger answer round what we do about medical debt.”

Groh-Wargo stated the money was given by donors for political motion, however stated the money represents “only a small percentage” of what Fair Fight has raised.

“I think of this as politically tithing to help the community we are advocating for and with,” Groh-Wargo stated, saying the group has finished smaller scale charitable efforts.

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A earlier model of this report incorrectly said the donation was coming from Fair Fight Action. The donation is coming from Fair Fight Political Action Committee.

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