Ohio church wipes out $33M of patient medical debt

United Church of Christ in Cleveland has abolished $33 million of patient medical debt in Ohio, according to a Feb. 14 news release. 

The church partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that purchases and forgives medical debt for pennies on the dollar, to erase the debt of 10,757 households in 70 Ohio counties. 

The church eliminated the debt with a $200,000 donation to RIP Medical. It raised the funds from its annual Giving Tuesday campaign. 

"Medical debt still is the leading cause of U.S. bankruptcies and aggressive debt collection," the Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, the church's minister for economic justice, said in a news release. "This reality leads to decisions that cut people off from needed healthcare. Healthcare is a human right, and no one should be penalized because they are too poor to be well."

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