The Fair Fight Political Action Committee, allied with the Fair Fight organization founded by voting rights activist and political badass Stacey Abrams, has donated more than $ 1 million to help thousands of Americans mired in a medical debt.
The organization, founded by Abrams in 2018, donated $ 1.34 million from his political action committee to the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, according to Associated Press. The donation will help ease the debt of 108,000 people in Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi and Louisiana, who owe more than $ 210 million in total.
AP notes that although Arizona and Louisiana have extended Medicaid, some Republican-led states have refused to do so, leaving many low-income Americans without health insurance and paying their medical bills out of their own pockets.
“What’s so important about this is the link between the expansion of Medicaid and the crushing of medical debt,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action and senior advisor to PAC, according to AP.
While Fair Fight was founded to defend the rights of voters, it has now expanded to seek expansion of Medicaid coverage. Last week, the group released announcements to pressure Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, to whom Abrams lost in 2018, to make the Medicaid expansion an issue Georgian lawmakers are examining during their special session to redesign electoral districts next week.
Here’s what Stacey Abrams said in a fair fight statement Wednesday:
“I know firsthand how medical bills and a failing health care system add to family debt,” said Stacey Abrams, Founder of Fair Fight. “Across the Sunbelt and down south, this problem is exacerbated in states like Georgia, where failing leaders have ruthlessly refused to expand Medicaid, even during a pandemic. In collaboration with RIP Medical Debt, Fair Fight intervenes where others have refused to act. For people of color, the working poor, and middle-class families facing crushing costs, we hope to ease the pressure on desperate Americans and on hospitals struggling to stay open. “
Debt relief enabled by the Fair Fight donation totals $ 212,781,818 across five states:
• Georgia: $ 123,193,570.70 million in debt relief for 68,685 people
• Louisiana: $ 17,476,259.35 million in debt relief for 8,265 people
• Alabama: $ 1,857,166.42 million in debt relief for 1,953 people
• Mississippi: $ 2,350,757.12 million in debt relief for 2,058 people
• Arizona: $ 67,904,064.13 million in debt relief for 27,282 people
Americans receiving relief will be notified by letter in a yellow envelope over the next few days. This donation is the third largest donation in the history of RIP Medical Debt and the largest to be focused on the South, according to the Fair Fight release.
The nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, founded in 2014, has already eradicated $ 5.3 billion in debt for more than 3 million people. AP reports that it does this by buying people’s medical debt at deep discounts, often from collection agencies.
“We are not the permanent solution,” said Allison Sesso, executive director of RIP Medical Debt, “There has to be a larger solution around what we do about medical debt.”