Put People First! PA to erase $1.5 million of medical debt in Western PA
WHO: Put People First! PA and RIP Medical Debt
WHAT: Campaign to Abolish Medical Debt in Western Pennsylvania
WHERE: Online at https://secure.qgiv.com/event/putpeoplefirst
WHEN: Launches April 2, 2019
Pittsburgh, PA— Put People First! PA, a statewide volunteer-based organization of poor and dispossessed working class people fighting for healthcare, is teaming up with RIP Medical Debt to abolish medical debt in 18 Western PA counties.
RIP Medical Debt is a national 501c3 nonprofit organization that uses donations to purchase bundled medical debt portfolios that have gone through collection agencies for months or years. Using third-party credit data providers, it targets debt incurred by people facing financial hardship, and then forgives it. For every $1 dollar raised, $100 in medical debt is abolished. Since 2014, RIP has relieved more than $450 million in medical debt for individuals across the U.S., impacting over 250,000 individuals.
Put People First! PA’s campaign to abolish medical debt in Western Pennsylvania will raise $15,000 to buy back and absolve $1.5 million of medical debt currently burdening over 1,700 people in the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Forrest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland, Venango. Those who make less than 2 times the federal poverty level, have a debt that is 5% or more of their annual income, and/or who are insolvent will have their medical debt forgiven.
“We believe that no one should ever have to choose between getting the care they need and having a roof over their head, transportation or food to eat – not in the richest country in the world. Currently the powers that be believe profit for the healthcare industry is more important than our lives. Because we know what they’re going through, we want to relieve these families of their pain, and also show that a healthcare system that puts us into debt is immoral and needs to be replaced,” remarked Hope Koss of Johnstown, coordinator of the fundraising campaign.
Across the nation, and in Pennsylvania, medical debt is a leading cause of homelessness. The stress of debt and dealing with insurance companies and bill collectors makes health conditions worse. As just one example, last year the American Journal of Medicine reported that almost half of cancer patients drain their life’s assets within two years and are almost three times as likely to file for bankruptcy than those without cancer, which puts them at risk for early death.
You can donate and find out more at https://secure.qgiv.com/event/putpeoplefirst. To get involved in organizing for healthcare rights in Pennsylvania visit www.putpeoplefirstpa.org