More cities interested in wiping out residents' medical debt

More cities could take steps to relieve medical debt for their residents, after local officials in Toledo, Ohio, committed American Rescue Plan funds to pay off medical debts, The Toledo Blade reported Jan. 2. 

The city partnered with organization RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that purchases debt from hospitals, health systems and debt collectors. 

RIP Debt CEO Allison Sesso told The Toledo Blade that since the city's plan was finalized in November, at least 20 more cities have reached out to the organization about similar partnerships. 

Other cities are already proposing allocations to RIP Medical Debt. In New Orleans, local officials proposed allocating up to $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan funding to the organization. In Pittsburgh, a city council member also proposed a $1 million partnership with RIP Medical Debt.  

Ms. Sesso told the newspaper that while some cities are proposing using American Rescue Plan funding to wipe out debt, others have considered using local tax revenues. 

"While our work can be supported using ARPA funds, it does not have to be," Ms. Sesso said.

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