Fair Fight Political Action Committee, allied with the Fair Fight organization founded by voting rights activist and political badass Stacey Abrams, donated over a million dollars to help thousands of Americans bogged down by medical debt.
The organization, founded by Abrams in 2018, donated $1.34 million from its political action committee to the non-profit RIP Medical Debt, according to the Associated Press. The donation will help relieve the debt of 108,000 people across Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi and Louisiana who owe more than $210 million combined.
AP notes that while both Arizona and Louisiana have expanded Medicaid, some Republican led states have refused to do so, leaving many low-income Americans without health insurance and paying medical bills out of their own pockets.
“What is so important about this is the tie between Medicaid expansion and just crushing medical debt,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo CEO of Fair Fight Action and senior adviser to the PAC, according to AP.
While Fair Fight was founded to advocate for voters rights, it has now branched out to seeking expansion of Medicaid coverage. Last week, the group put out ads to pressure Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who Abrams lost to in 2018, into making Medicaid expansion an issue Georgia lawmakers consider during their special session to redraw electoral districts next week.
Here’s what Stacey Abrams said in a statement made from Fair Fight on Wednesday:
“I know firsthand how medical costs and a broken healthcare system put families further and further in debt,” said Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight. “Across the Sunbelt and in the South, this problem is exacerbated in states like Georgia where failed leaders have callously refused to expand Medicaid, even during a pandemic. Working with RIP Medical Debt, Fair Fight is stepping in where others have refused to take action. For people of color, the working poor and middle-class families facing crushing costs, we hope to relieve the strain on desperate Americans and on hospitals struggling to remain open.”
The debt relief enabled by Fair Fight’s donation amounts to a total sum of $212,781,818 allocated across five states:
• Georgia: $123,193,570.70 million in debt relief for 68,685 individuals
• Louisiana: $17.476,259.35 million in debt relief for 8,265 individuals
• Alabama: $1,857,166.42 million in debt relief for 1,953 individuals
• Mississippi: $2,350,757.12 million in debt relief for 2,058 individuals
• Arizona: $67,904,064.13 million in debt relief for 27,282 individuals
Americans receiving relief will be notified with a letter in a yellow envelope over the coming days. This donation is the third largest gift in RIP Medical Debt’s history and the largest to be focused on the South, according to Fair Fight’s statement.
The nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, founded in 2014, has already helped eradicate $5.3 billion in debt for more than 3 million people. AP reports that it does so by buying people’s medical debt at steep discounts often from collection agencies.
“We are not the permanent solution,” said Allison Sesso, the executive director of RIP Medical Debt, “There does need to be a larger solution around what we do about medical debt.”