US Stacey Abrams Group Donates $1 Million to Medical Debt Relief—Here's Who Qualifies
Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams urged Black churchgoers in Virginia to turn out for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in his bid for a second term as chief of the Old Dominion during campaign stops on Sunday.Abrams visited three Black churches in Norfolk, then joined McAuliffe for a rally outside an early voting station, where she urged Virginians to cast their ballots in a race that many experts are saying could serve as a preview of next year's midterm elections. "What you say in 2021 will show the world who we are in 2022 and 2024 and beyond," Abrams said during one of the campaign stops, according to The Associated Press.
Stacey Abrams' political organization Fair Fight Action has donated $1.3 million to a non-profit group to pay off the medical debts of more than 100,000 people across five states.
The group, led by the Georgia voting rights activist and 2018 gubernatorial candidate, told the Associated Press it had given the money from its political action committee to RIP Medical Debt, in order to help clear debt of $212 million that is owed by 108,000 people in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
McAuliffe nods along as Stacey Abrams tells 'Big Lie' that Georgia race was stolen from her
Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe nodded along as Democratic activist Stacey Abrams repeated the claim that she truly won the 2018 governor's race in Georgia."You see, I'm here to tell you that just because you win doesn't mean [you've] won," Abrams declared, with McAuliffe nodding in the background. "I come from a state where I was not entitled to become the governor, but as an American citizen and as a citizen of Georgia, I'm going to fight for every person who has the right to vote to be able to cast that vote.
According to RIP Medical Debt's website, people must meet at least one of three criteria to qualify to have their payments cleared. They must:
- Earn less than two times the federal poverty level, which varies depending on state and family size
- Have debts that are 5 percent or more of annual income
- Face insolvency, meaning their debts are greater than their assets.
"We never collect on debt we purchase, only relieve it," RIP Medical Debt states on the website. People cannot apply for their debt to be cleared by the organization. Instead it acquires large portfolios of debt in order to help thousands of people at once.
Fair Fight Action said letters would be sent to the people whose debts will be forgiven. The donation will clear the debt of nearly 69,000 people in Georgia, more than 27,000 in Arizona, more than 8,000 in Louisiana, and 2,000 in both Mississippi and Alabama.
Virginia gives Democrats a test of Black turnout before 2022
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — As Democrat Terry McAuliffe worked the crowd at Norfolk State University’s homecoming football game, many fans at the historically Black school were ready with answers before he could even ask for their vote. “Everybody I talked to said: ‘Don’t worry, I’ve already voted. I’ve already voted,’” McAuliffe said of his campaign stop last weekend. But McAuliffe can't afford not to worry. Polls have consistently shown him with the overwhelming support of Black Virginians, but his victory may hinge on whether this core part of his base shows up in strong numbers to vote.
Abrams' group said there was a greater need to cancel debts because 12 states had refused to adopt a Medicaid expansion that would extend health care to millions of poor people.
Of the five states whose residents are being assisted with Fair Fight's donations, only Arizona and Louisiana have expanded Medicaid eligibility under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
"I know firsthand how medical costs and a broken health care system put families further and further in debt," Abrams said in a statement.
"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."
In a tweet on Tuesday, Abrams added: "Millions of Americans lack access to affordable health coverage because their states have refused to expand Medicaid. We must #CloseTheCoverageGap to ensure access to healthcare, no matter where you live."
Michelle Obama, Stacey Abrams team up, issue call to action on voting rights
In a new effort to fight voter suppression, the duo caution against 'dangerous legislation' and ask voters to resist efforts to trample their rights.Praising high voter turnout in the 2020 election, Obama tells viewers that voters "showed the world our power." Abrams cautions, however, that voting rights "are under attack" and calls on voters to resist the efforts.
Allison Sesso, executive director of RIP Medical Debt, told the AP the group was also considering "how we can improve the system nationwide" in order to stop people getting into financial difficulties because of medical treatment in the first place.
"We are not the permanent solution," Sesso said. "There does need to be a larger solution around what we do about medical debt."
Fair Fight has been contacted for further comment.
Democrats prepare to rope GOP into political cliff dive over debt limit .
The majority party is planning to forgo the go-it-alone approach on raising the debt ceiling.There will be no language on raising or suspending the debt ceiling in the budget measure Senate Democrats expect to unveil within days to advance a $3.5 trillion spate of liberal spending plans without Republican buy-in, according to a Democratic aide close to budget talks. Instead, the party is looking to a short-term funding bill designed to avert a government shutdown at the end of September as the next opportunity for debt limit action, one top lawmaker said — an approach that would require Republican support.