Democratic titan-led political party Stacey Abrams is working to pay off medical bills.
Fair Fight Action on Wednesday told the Associated Press to donate $ 1.34 million to its political committee to nonprofit organization RIP Medical Debt to settle a $ 212 million debt owed to 108,000 people in Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana. , Mississippi and Alabama.
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Chief Executive Officer Lauren Groh-Wargo of Fair Fight Action said paying off medical bills is part of a group campaign seeking the expansion of Medicaid in 12 states that have refused to increase health insurance for all poor adults.
"Most important of this is the link between the expansion of Medicaid and the crushing of medical debt," Groh-Wargo said.
In the target regions, Arizona and Louisiana have expanded Medicaid.
Fair Fight said letters would be sent to those with debtors who had been fired to inform them. The purchase will forgive the debt of nearly 69,000 people in Georgia, more than 27,000 people in Arizona, more than 8,000 people in Louisiana, and about 2,000 people each in Mississippi and Alabama.
The group has raised more than $ 100 million since Abrams founded it after his loss in 2018 in the Georgia governor's race. Fair Fight is notorious for its voting rights, but has always demanded comprehensive health care. The group launched a campaign last week demanding that Georgia Republican government Brian Kemp add the Medicaid extension to a list of topics Georgia lawmakers will consider in a special program starting next week's redesign of electoral constituencies. Democrats hope Abrams will run against Kemp again in 2022, a minor loss that made him politically prominent.
"I personally know how medical costs and a broken health care system put families in debt," Abrams said in a statement. "Across the sun and the South, the problem is exacerbated in provinces such as Georgia where failed leaders have refused to extend Medicaid, even during the epidemic."
RIP Medical Debt said Fair Fight offers the third largest donation in its history. Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $ 50 million to the group last year. The group has helped more than 3 million people since its inception in 2014, often buying large quantities of medical bills with high discounts at a reasonable price. Debts are often bought from collection agencies that have been trying to get creditors to pay. The group has written off more than $ 5.3 billion in debt.
Allison Sesso, executive director of RIP Medical Debt, said such debts often lead people to run out of money, can prevent people from seeking needed medical care, and can lead to higher wages or investment.
"I will not underestimate the psychological trauma people experience as a result of medical bills," Sesso said.
Sesso said his party was not only pushing for debt relief "but also thinking about how we could improve the system across the country," trying to encourage hospitals to do more to make the care of charities more accessible. He also said that research shows that expanded Medicaid has lower rates of medical debt.
"It is not a permanent solution," Sesso said. "There needs to be a bigger solution to what we are doing with medical debt."
Groh-Wargo said the money was given to donors for political action, but said the money represented "only a small percentage" of what Fair Fight had proposed.
"I see this as a political tithe to help the community we represent and to them," said Groh-Wargo, noting that the party had made little efforts to donate.