Abolish Medical Debt in Central Virginia

No one should have to choose between food and housing or paying for healthcare. We are residents of Richmond, Virginia, living on the stolen ancestral lands of the Powhatan people, and we’re partnering with Undue Medical Debt to purchase and abolish millions of dollars of medical debt in Central Virginia.

Why Is This Needed?

According to Census Bureau survey data, 19% of US households couldn’t afford their medical care up front or when they received care in 2017.

This debt disproportionately affects folks who’ve historically and currently bear the brunt of discrimination, racism, and classism within and beyond the medical industry. Furthermore, “households with children under age 18 (24.7%) were more likely than those without children (16.5%) to carry medical debt.” Of course, much of this disparity has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regionally, residents of Southern states owe hospitals and providers roughly three times as much as those in the Northeast, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. On the Medical Debt Policy Scorecard, Virginia ranks “poor” and 33rd out of 50 states. The Richmond-Times Dispatch reported in 2022 that 1 in 7 Virginians has medical debt in collections, yet efforts to improve these dismal stats continue to be thwarted.

How Can I Help?

When you donate to a Undue Medical Debt campaign, funds are used to buy bundled medical debt portfolios from local hospitals and from what’s called the secondary debt market. Then, instead of what usually happens when debt is purchased on the market (hounding people for their last dollar to pay outstanding bills), Undue sends folks letters informing them that their debt is cleared. Recipients owe nothing, and there are no tax penalties.

On average, $1 is leveraged to abolish $100 in medical debt, and every donation through this campaign will be spent directly on abolishing medical debt in the City of Richmond, City of Petersburg, Henrico County, and Chesterfield County, Virginia.

Between these four localities, Undue Medical Debt has access to around $12.9 million worth of medical debt that is being held by around 19,000 individuals. To abolish ALL of it, we need to raise $71,000, hence our campaign goal. At a minimum, we need to raise $10,000 to abolish debt specific to these localities. However, even if the $10k goal is not met, all raised funds still go directly to abolishing medical debt for U.S. residents.

“I want to thank the people at Undue Medical Debt and the generous donor for abolishing my debt. I am a single mother who works full-time just to make ends meet. Not having this debt hanging over my head is a relief. Thank you again. This gives me the ability to focus on my son and not stress!” – G.L. of Dallas, GA. Amount abolished: $1,001