Detroit Today: Oakland County’s plan to erase medical debt

The program partners with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which purchases medical debt and erases it for those who can’t afford to pay. 

Oakland County commissioners voted last week to use $2 million of its American Rescue Plan Act funds to clear medical debt for 80,000 Oakland County residents.

The county will be partnering with RIP Medical Debt, a national nonprofit group, which uses donations to purchase medical debts belonging to people who can’t afford them.

Oakland County Commissioner Charlie Cavell joined Detroit Today on Wednesday to discuss how and why the county is wiping out debt for its residents.

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Charlie Cavell is a Democrat representing parts of southern Oakland County as a county commissioner. Oakland County introduced a program to eliminate medical debt for 80,000 residents. He says the program partners with a nonprofit, RIP Medical Debt that purchases medical debt and erases it. 

“Medical debt generally costs a penny on the dollar or less to purchase from collections or hospital systems,” Cavell said. “That means that $2 million will become $200 million in purchased medical debt that will be erased. That’s equivalent to the medical debt held by the 80,000 folks in Oakland County who are behind on their medical bills.”

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