At the age of just 38, Casey McIntyre, a publishing executive, passed away from ovarian cancer on November 12, leaving behind a remarkable and selfless legacy. Before her death, McIntyre shared a heartfelt message on social media, expressing her final wish: to alleviate the burden of medical debt for strangers through the charity RIP Medical Debt.
In her message, McIntyre, who served as the publisher at Penguin Random House’s imprint Razorbill, explained, “To celebrate my life, I’ve arranged to buy up others’ medical debt and then destroy the debt.” She acknowledged her privilege in accessing top-notch medical care at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and expressed her awareness of the millions in the United States who lack such access.
Her husband, Andrew Rose Gregory, also shared McIntyre’s vision and plans to host a “debt jubilee” and memorial service in her honor next month.
As of now, the RIP Medical Debt campaign established in McIntyre’s name has raised an impressive $613,000, surpassing its $650,000 goal, which will enable the erasure of over $60 million in medical debt.
Medical Debt Crisis in America McIntyre’s campaign highlights a crisis affecting nearly half of Americans. A survey brief by the Commonwealth Fund reveals that 44% of U.S. adults face medical bill problems, regardless of income. Moreover, 46% of Americans with low or average incomes have postponed or foregone necessary medical care due to its cost.
Another survey from the Commonwealth Fund underscores the extent of medical debt Americans carry, with 85% of respondents reporting debts of $500 or more, and nearly half carrying debts of $2,000 or more. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis indicates that the collective medical debt in the United States stands at a staggering $195 billion.
How Donations Can Eradicate Medical Debt RIP Medical Debt, founded in 2014 by former debt collection executives, addresses this issue by leveraging donations to purchase medical debts belonging to those in need and then erasing them. Daniel Lempert, vice president of communications for RIP Medical Debt, explains that for-profit systems allow medical debts to be bought and sold at a fraction of their face value.
Donor dollars enable the nonprofit to acquire medical debts from individuals who are least likely to repay them, such as those four times or below the federal poverty level or individuals for whom the debt represents 5% or more of their annual income. Donations can erase an average of $100 in medical debt for every $1 contributed.
Getting Involved Anyone can contribute to the cause by visiting the RIP Medical Debt website and making a donation for national debt relief. Specific geography-targeted campaigns are also available for donation, allowing individuals to choose regions they wish to support.
RIP Medical Debt collaborates with various community partners, including high school students, businesses, and faith organizations, to alleviate medical debt in specific areas. The organization acknowledges the need for both immediate relief and structural change to combat this crisis.
In summary, Casey McIntyre’s inspiring act of paying off strangers’ medical debt has shed light on a pressing issue in America. Donations to organizations like RIP Medical Debt can make a significant impact in alleviating the burden of medical debt for those in need, providing hope for a future where structural changes also address this crisis.