EDITORS AND REPORTERS: The United Church of Christ first relieved medical debt for 5,888 Chicago families in 2019. The project will continue through the spring 2021, reaching tens of thousands of citizens in every region of the United States. The church buys debt at pennies on the dollar through RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based nonprofit. The church does not know the identities of the people whose debt it forgives. RIP Medical Debt sends the debtors letters, naming the congregations and other UCC-related organizations that have made the forgiveness possible via special donations. The letters say: “You may never enter the doors of one of our churches, but we are the United Church of Christ and we love you. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. And most importantly, you are beloved by God and your debt has been forgiven.” In addition to relieving debt for particular families, the UCC is also using the project as an opportunity to draw attention to what the Rev. Traci Blackmon, associate general minister, calls "the unconscionable cost and profiteering of healthcare in the United States and their devastating impact on families, as a critical issue as we enter 2020 elections."
News releases and advisories
- Church bodies forgive millions in medical debt for 11,108 St. Louis families 1/18/20
- Church groups to announce the forgiveness of millions in medical debt affecting 11,108 St. Louis families 1/18/20
- Church bodies forgive millions in medical debt for 5,888 Chicago families, 10/20/19
- Church bodies to announce the forgiveness of millions in medical debt affecting 5,888 Chicago families, 10/20/19
United Church News coverage and commentaries
- UCC abolishes $12.9 million in medical debt in St. Louis, continuing national initiative. Jan. 19, 2020.
- UCC Celebrates Giving Tuesday generosity, maps next medical debt buys. Dec. 9, 2019.
- Giving Tuesday campaign to abolish medical debt has justice component. Dec. 2, 2019.
- UCC medical debt recipient pays blessings forward at Thanksgiving. Nov. 25, 2019.
- Commentary: Road work ahead. Nov. 21, 2019
- CHHSM joins UCC medical debt abolishment effort. Nov. 13, 2019.
- Conference minister has lived with debt, is thrilled to be part of a solution. Nov. 12, 2019.
- Commentary: The modern-day peonage of medical debt. Nov. 4, 2019.
- UCC forgives millions of debt in Chicago, announces national effort. Oct. 21, 2019