DC Cleaning Out Medical Debt For Eligible Residents


D.C. officials are calling for 9000% of residents’ medical debt to ease the burden that data shows disproportionately impacting people of color, affecting jobs, housing, and physical and mental health. We are planning to write off the million dollars.

The school district will use $900,000 in year-end surplus funds to fund 1 Buy debt with dollar pennies. According to city officials.

Mayor Muriel E. Kuppa, a Democrat, announced the program Wednesday as part of a budget proposal.

“This will be one of the most important early Christmas presents the city residents will receive because it will completely wipe them out of having bills that really hurt. ” in an interview. “If you believe, as I do, that this burden is disproportionately placed on people of color, this is very much in line with efforts to address racial equality seen across the country. ”

Since the 2020 Federal Advisory Opinion opened the way for nonprofits to purchase debt to abolish individual liability, DC has been criticized by governments and nonprofits targeting the country’s ballooning health care debt. Joined the wave of for-profit organizations. Debt cancellations will be automatic and district residents will be notified by mail when the burden is cleared, officials said. The City plans to award grants to third-party bond purchasers in late April or early May.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, last month planned to write off up to $2 billion in medical debt.Cook County, including New Orleans, Toledo, Chicago, and other jurisdictions have canceled using federal pandemic relief funds According to the White House, the medical debt is about $1.5 billion.

For many congregations, cleaning up medical debt has become a general call

Local governments are working with RIP Medical Debt to obtain eligible medical debt from local providers such as hospitals and physician groups, CEO Allison Sesso said in an email Wednesday. Sesso said nonprofits are likely to apply for his DC grant.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $80 million to RIP Medical Debt to make this work nationwide.

“There is a heightened awareness across the country through COVID-19 over the obligations of health equity and racial and economic justice bound by our health care debt system and burden.” Low-income people in debt defend the legal rights of

Health policy experts say the practice will help people in the short term but does not address the structural factors that are increasing the country’s debt. Nearly 18% of Americans were paying off medical debt when the pandemic began.

Resident of color 3 times Data released by the Urban Institute show that they are more likely to have medical debt than their white residents in the district, mirroring national trends.and black residents of the district White residents are more than five times more likely to be uninsured, UI reports.

Reasons for South’s low creditworthiness

Tzedek estimates that out of 90,000 district residents with medical debt, over 40,000 residents are in debt to active collections. This can hurt an individual’s credit score and negatively impact job, loan prospects, and rental housing applications. Levinson-Waldman said one-third of his DC jobs, many of which work for the federal government and contractors, require background checks, including credit checks.

“Medical debt hurts people financially, but it also worsens people’s health because people with medical debt often seek no care, or even seek care. Because I know I won’t ask for more care than I need.I don’t worry about the cost,” he said.

The majority of DC residents have health insurance, and many have public insurance such as Medicaid, but more than half of DC residents have private insurance and often A large out-of-pocket and out-of-pocket expense will be charged, Turnage said.

Stephen B. Jefferson Sr., Community Outreach Coordinator at Tzedek DC, has experienced first-hand the impact of medical debt.

Jefferson, who was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma in 2009 and later with indolent bone marrow cancer, said he plans to pay $1,000 in bills from the National Center for Cancer Treatment. .

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Jefferson, 56, who was born in DC and lives in Upper Marlborough, said he was lucky to have private insurance instead of being eligible for debt write-off, but could wait weeks or months from seeing doctors and testing. He said medical bills received months later could derail the uninsured. Underinsured.

“Surprisingly, I may owe you,” he said. “‘But you said I don’t have to pay anything’…I often hear from the community, ‘Suddenly I got a $50 bill. What is he $50 for? ?”

Americans have at least $195 billion in medical debt, according to an analysis of 2019 federal data by the Kaiser Family Foundation. An estimated 100 million people carry this debt and it is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy, Kaiser found.

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