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RISE Together Statement on Medical Debt Relief


October 19, 2023


STATEMENT ON THE CITY OF COLUMBUS AND CENTRAL OHIO HOSPITAL COUNCIL ACTION TO ALLEVIATE $335 MILLION IN MEDICAL DEBT


Columbus, OH - The RISE Together Innovation Institute is grateful that the City of Columbus and the Central Ohio Hospital Council (COHC) have taken actions to alleviate medical debt for residents in Columbus who meet the qualifications. Their decision to forgive $335 million worth of medical debt showcases that elected leaders and business leaders are committed to alleviating the financial burden and ensuring Columbus residents have peace of mind and can live with more stability.

“All of us should be able to live with safety, security, and dignity. Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States” Will Petrik, Director of Policy and Advocacy commented. “No one should have to worry about going bankrupt due to an illness or an accident.”

This legislation is expected to eliminate an average of $984 of medical debt from over 340,000 residents in Columbus. This will take some stress off thousands of our neighbors. It would be a missed opportunity for surrounding areas to fail to meet the call to action. Estimates from Scioto Analysis show that over 30% of residents in Reynoldsburg, Gahanna, Grove City, and Whitehall would be eligible for similar debt relief. A family of three with annual income between $46,060 (200% of the federal poverty level) and $92,120 (400% of the federal poverty level) with outstanding medical debt could benefit from similar relief. We stand ready to work with private and public sector leaders to follow the direction of Columbus officials and to take action to cancel debilitating medical debt.


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The RISE Together Innovation Institute is on a mission to harness the collective power of people and systems to disrupt structural racism and issues of poverty in Franklin County. Through innovative solutions and collaborative efforts, we seek to achieve equity for all. Our goal is to remove barriers and make opportunity more accessible for all the residents of our growing region.

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