Health: Church Wipes Out $19 Million in Medical Debt

The Story:

One of the features of the way health care is (or isn’t) financed in the US is this: a lot of families end up heavily in debt after receiving health care for which they were not insured, or that goes far beyond their insurers’ limits. Collectively, Americans have nearly a trillion dollars in medical debt.


Two thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the US are now tied to medical debt issues. The good news in this situation (good for the indebted, at any rate) is that much of this debt has been deemed noncollectable by the care-providing institutions and has been sold to third-party collectors, who are seeking pennies on the dollar.

This has created an opportunity for nonprofits to mitigate the situation, and to stop the collectors’ phone calls that have become such a nuisance for so many households, by paying those pennies.

In Pill Form:

A non-denominational church in Chicago, Illinois, VIVE Chicago, has raised and paid $100,000 to wipe out $19 millions worth of debt for residents of the city. In the words of Pastor Adam Smallcombe of VIVE Chicago, “As the church and as Christians our mandate is to liberate people from all kinds of oppression.”

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