RIP Medical Debt
Across the nation, there are large groups of people who are burdened with oppressive medical debt. 43 million Americans owe about $75 billion dollars in medical debt. Our most vulnerable communities are hardest hit – the sick, elderly, poor, and veterans. Middle class families who are barely getting by can find themselves in poverty because of medical debt. More than 60% of all bankruptcies have medical debt as a key contributing factor. This debt doesn’t come from bad decisions – it comes from seeking life saving medical care. And until it is resolved, medical debt lingers on one’s credit report, negatively impacting the ability to get a job, buy or rent a home, get a loan, or buy a vehicle.
The General Council decided in September that we want to do something about this medical debt in our area. We want to demonstrate Christ’s love for them in a concrete way. We want to help individuals and families get a fresh start, so that they can continue to seek needed medical care and find financial stability. Right now, there is approximately $1.7 million dollars of medical debt owed by those living in or near the poverty level in the Illinois counties our presbytery covers. And working together, we want to abolish all of it.
How? We are partnering with an organization called RIP Medical Debt. If you haven’t heard of them, you can find out more about their mission at www.ripmedicaldebt.org. RIP Medical Debt was started by individuals who had worked in the debt collection field and wanted to forgive debts instead of collecting them. They pool money from donors to buy medical debt in large portfolios. They then contact those families and forgive their debt with no tax consequences for the donor or recipients. $10,000 donated to RIP Medical Debt can abolish $1 million dollars worth of debt.
To meet our goal, we will need to raise $17,000. That sounds like a lot of money – but it comes out to $216.19 per church or about $3.40 per member. By pooling our resources, we can make a huge impact on those in need in our communities. We are going to start our campaign with our November presbytery meeting, where the offering collected will go towards this purpose. We will continue with putting the offerings from Presbytery meetings towards this goal in February and May of 2021. We also want to encourage you to think creatively about how you and your congregation can respond to this challenge. Perhaps you have money in your mission budget that can be given to this campaign. Maybe you can do a special offering, or a fundraiser, or... there are many options. After you have collected money for this purpose, please send it to the presbytery treasurer, Wade Meranda, and make sure to note that it is for medical debt forgiveness. You can also contribute on-line through the presbytery website (pseillinois.org and then look for the “Give Now” button at the top right. Any money put into the funds for the November, February, or May presbytery meetings will go to this purpose.)
Working together, we can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. I hope you will join us in this campaign to abolish medical debt in our region.
2021 Stated Meetings
February 11 - Virtual Meeting (6:30-8:00pm)
May 13th - Location TBD
August 28 - Location TBD
November 18 - Virtual or Combination Meeting