by Derek Major, Black Enterprise
Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight organization had donated more than $1 million to help residents in five states pay off their medical debts.
Fair Fight Action has donated $1.34 million from its political action committee to RIP Medical Debt to wipe out $212 million in medical debt by 108,000 people in Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Fair Fight CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo told NBC News that paying off medical debts is another facet of the organization’s advocacy as it seeks to expand Medicaid coverage in the 12 states that have refused to expand health coverage to their poorest citizens. Of the states targeted, Arizona and Louisiana have since expanded Medicaid.
“What is so important about this is the tie between Medicaid expansion and just crushing medical debt,” Groh-Wargo said.
The organization will send a letter to those who’ve had their medical debt paid off confirming it. The donation will pay off the medical debts of 69,000 people in Georgia, more than 27,000 people in Arizona, 8,000 people in Louisiana and around 2,000 people each in Mississippi and Alabama.
Fair Fight Action has raised more than $100 million since it was founded by Abrams in the aftermath of her election loss to Brian Kemp. The news seemed devastating for Democrats at the time, but the loss allowed Abrams to develop Fair Fight, which was paramount in Joe Biden winning the Peach State during the 2020 Presidential Election.
The group has since added Medicaid expansion to its agenda and is pressuring Gov. Kemp to add Medicaid expansion to the list of topics state politicians will discuss in a special session next week to redraw electoral districts.
In a statement Abrams said she knows the significant weight medical debt carries for Americans. “I know firsthand how medical costs and a broken healthcare system put families further and further in debt,” Abrams said. “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.”
RIP Medical Debt said Fair Fight’s donation is the third largest in the nonprofit’s history. MacKenzie Scott donated $50 million last year. The organization typically buys bundles of medical debt at a steep discount from collection agencies.