News: Upstate NYers medical debt mysteriously paid off, Bethany Bump, TimesUnion

Ithaca women turn $12,500 in donations into $1.5 million of debt relief

By Bethany Bump, Monday, December 3, 2018

For nearly 150 people around the Capital Region who've been hounded for years by debt collectors, the mail should have recently brought some good news. News that seemed too good to be true. If it came in a yellow envelope with a return address of Rye, New York from a group called "RIP Medical Debt," it wasn't. Too good to be true, that is.

"A lot of people get our letters and think they're too good to be true and throw them out," said Daniel Lempert, a spokesman for RIP Medical Debt. "That's why we try to get the word out.

Thanks to a fundraising campaign by a group out of the Finger Lakes, the medical debt of some 1,284 people around upstate New York totaling $1.5 million has been forgiven. In the Capital Region, 146 people had $298,507 worth of old debt wiped out — all because Judith Jones and Carolyn Kenyon, of Ithaca, got the idea to raise money for a good cause.

The women are members of the Finger Lakes chapter of the Campaign for New York Health, which advocates for universal health coverage through passage of the New York Health Act. The pair were looking to do some good, and maybe make a political statement at the same time…

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