Divine Church Debt Relief »Albuquerque Journal
Health and finance experts agree: Medical problems and the resulting debt are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in the United States. And that was before the coronavirus pandemic, when medical debt skyrocketed as millions of workers lost not only their jobs but also their employee-sponsored health insurance.
Fortunately, there are charities in New Mexico that help, such as St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe. As part of its mission, St. Bede’s has used nonprofit donations and expertise to repay the cost. medical debt of 234 New Mexicans and 548 others in Arizona.
To boost the amount of debt relief, the church donated $ 15,000 to RIP Medical Debt, a New York City nonprofit that bulk purchases outstanding medical debt. RIP pays about 1 cent of every dollar of debt purchased instead of trying to collect it. Suddenly, 234 New Mexicans were relieved of more than $ 447,000 in medical debt.
Rev. Catherine Volland says the church recognizes that medical bills can quickly become overwhelming and become a barrier. According to a survey released in 2020 by Salary Finance, nearly a third of working Americans have some sort of medical debt, and about 28% of them owe $ 10,000 or more. The crippling debt is hardly the American dream.
Volland says the goal is to prevent medical debt from piling up with affordable medical rates and insurance. “But, until we get there, we want to help people so that medical debt doesn’t follow them forever,” she told the Journal.
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RIP Medical Debt spokesperson Daniel Lempert said there was “a kind of spiritual element to a lot of people” when they were told their debt relief was the result of a donation of the church. The parishioners of St. Bede should be proud of what they have done to get hundreds of people out of debt. It was divine intervention, indeed.
Well done, Saint-Bède.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned because it represents the opinion of the journal rather than that of the authors.