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File #: 23-0079    Version: 1
Type: Resolution Status: Approved
File created: 1/10/2023 In control: City Council
On agenda: 1/12/2023 Final action: 2/23/2023
Enactment date: 1/12/2023 Enactment #: 214777
Title: Supporting the Eradication of Medical Debt.
Sponsors: Willie Burnley Jr., Charlotte Kelly, Jesse Clingan, Lance L. Davis, Ben Ewen-Campen, Matthew McLaughlin, Judy Pineda Neufeld, Jefferson Thomas (J.T.) Scott, Kristen Strezo, Jake Wilson
Attachments: 1. ARPA Proposal_ medical debt cancellation, 2. A Resolution Calling for the Cancellation of Medical Debt
Agenda Summary
Supporting the Eradication of Medical Debt.

Official Text
A Resolution Calling for the Cancellation of Medical Debt
WHEREAS this Council has committed itself to mitigating the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, including the spread of disease and the economic toll that it has caused our constituents; and
WHEREAS research from the Commonwealth Fund found that approximately half of all people affected by COVID-19 directly or indirectly, including those who caught the disease or lost their job and insurance due to the pandemic, had medical debt; and
WHEREAS medical debt represents a clear threat to the fiscal and physical health of residents by worsening credit scores, increasing the likelihood of bankruptcies, and making them less likely to seek medical treatment and therefore increasing the likely spread of disease; and
WHEREAS the negative impacts of medical debt disproportionately affect Black and Latino communities as well as veterans, young adults, and seniors; and
WHEREAS the City of Somerville has nearly $20 million of uncommitted ARPA funds for the purposes of addressing negative health and economic impacts of the pandemic; and
WHEREAS the cities of Toledo, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, as well as Cook County, Illinois have all partnered with the non-profit RIP Medical Debt using ARPA funding to analyze, buy, and cancel debt for residents who make up to 400 percent of the federal poverty rate; and
WHEREAS the buying of medical debt is absurdly cost effective, with estimates from RIP Medical Debt claiming that for every $1 invested $100 of medical debt is canceled; and
WHEREAS Massachusetts residents have the lowest average of medical debt in the country, putting our municipalities in an incredibly advantageous position to cancel this debt; and
WHEREAS Councilor Burnley has already secured the willingness of RIP Medical Debt to administer and manage a program of debt analysis and cancellation as well as had multiple conversa...

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