Two Women Worked To Erase $1.5 Million Of Strangers’ Medical Debt

Medical bills with a stethoscope and a calculator
Sherry Yates Young / Shutterstock

The New York Health Act is a bill that would finally bring universal healthcare to people living in the state, and plenty of people have been campaigning in favor of passing it. While most are waiting patiently for a decision, others have taken matters into their own hands.

Judith Jones and Carolyn Kenyon are two New Yorkers who aren’t prepared to wait for the bills to be passed to help people. The two women, 80- and 70-years-old respectively, rallied their friends and neighbors behind them to put in a very good deed just before Christmas, according to Jezebel.

The cause on the receiving end of their good deed? R.I.P. Medical Debt. The organization helps to pay off people’s medical debts by buying these debts and then forgiving them. Jones and Kenyon worked hard to help raise funds for the organization, and with their donation of $12,500, R.I.P. Medical Debt was able to buy up a whopping $1.5 million worth of overdue medical bills to forgive, paying approximately half a penny on the dollar.

The debts belonged to thousands of people across the state of New York, mostly people who earn less than twice the federal poverty level. The organization focuses on helping people who meet these criteria, as they are in the worst situation financially when it comes to trying to pay of debts no one wants to incur in the first place.

Aside from being a clearly very convincing voice to their friends and families, Jones and Kenyon also spent time speaking with those who donated to educate them about the major stress factor that having a large amount of medical debt hanging over one’s head can have on individuals and families.

“We tried to get people interested in the seriousness of medical debt,” Jones said, “and lead them to understand that when the New York Health Act passes, that will be the end of medical debt because everyone will be covered.”

In total, Jones and Kenyon’s contributions have resulted in letters by R.I.P. Medical debt being sent to nearly 1,300 people across New York state, according to the New York Times. The two women first heard about the organization in the spring, and launched their fundraising campaign over the summer.

While both are pleased to have been able to help so many people, they are both well aware that their effort in raising that money is still only a temporary fix, and will require the New York Health Act to be passed to have a real impact on people’s lives.