Up to 19 percent of Americans are saddled with medical bills that have been placed with collection agencies, but a Seattle television station and a newscaster did something about it. Realizing that $1 would buy $100 of medical debt, they gave $12,000 to buy the medical debt of people in their viewing area. They hired a firm to work for them and over $1 million in medical debt was finally purchased.
Watchers of the news became so excited that they kicked in another $12,000 to buy another $1 million in medical debt. The firm picked the people at random to have their medical debt paid, and they each received a letter after the fact that their medical debt had been paid.
A charity was quickly created so that all viewers could make tax-deductible donations. The only costs that come out of the donated money are the cost of mailing the letters letting people know that their medical debts were paid off along with transaction fees.
One person who had their debt paid off was Brittanie High. She delivered her special-needs son on the day that her insurance was to change from one company to another. There was a problem with the insurance switch. Since the child was born with special needs, the family from Yelm, Washington, experienced very high medical bills. Despite trying to pay down the bills, they finally had to take care of her child’s needs today along with their normal living expenses.
Another person who had their medical debt paid by KIRO 7 was Joelle Craft. After being begged by her children to have more medical examine, it was discovered that she had a problem with her lifesaving uterine surgery. She says that she realized that she had to have the surgery or she would not be alive today.