North Carolina Church Pays Off $3.3-Million In Medical Debt With Just Over $15K
Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, recently purchased and forgave $3.3-million in medical debt for over 3-thousand local families, using just over $15-thousand in donations. According to CNN, the move was part of the church’s Debt Jubilee Project in partnership with RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based nonprofit. Programs like RIP Medical Debt buy debt from third-party collectors at a significantly discounted rate without pursuing the debt holders.
More churches in the US are using debt forgiveness as a modern, effective way to help debt-strapped community members. RIP Medical Debt helps these efforts by focusing on purchasing large amounts of debts from low-income families to make the most difference. Reverend John Jackman, pastor of Trinity Moravian Church, says medical debt is like a “modern form of slavery.”
Major Christian denominations have historically held “debt jubilees” as a way to address poverty and inequality. Jackman hopes more churches will recognize the impact they can make through such programs. He acknowledges that fixing the medical system is beyond their capabilities, but they can help by buying and forgiving debt.