As someone who has suffered a serious accident and can walk today thanks to good healthcare, I was inspired by John Oliver's Medical Debt forgiveness episode.
Last April reached out to RIP Medical Debt to see if I could afford to cover the cost of all the debt in our district. They informed me that two socially minded high-school students were attempting to do the same so I stepped back to be able to give them full credit for their initiative. Their fundraising however plateaued, and we met last Saturday to see how I could help. When I learned that for the cost of for a four day run of a small newspaper advertisement I could help erase the medical debt of every individual who makes less than 2 times the federal poverty level, every individual with financial hardship (meaning 5% or more of their annual income goes to out-of-pocket medical expenses), and every individual who is insolvent (debts greater to their assets), in our entire district, it was clear that I needed to.
This year I've seen how a significant percentage of outreach from campaigns at every level is simply a request for donations. Not policy, not issues, just donation requests; even the posts about policy or issues are either preceded or followed by "Donate Now". The cost of the 2016 electron cycle was a staggering $6.5 billion. Even more shocking is that many of the races that were tallied in that final cost were unopposed. Just imagine how much good, we as a nation, could have done in 2016 if we had used that $6.5 billion to actually do the change that so many campaigns are saying is needed. It is my fervent hope that by doing this other candidates will also decide to do more to use their campaigns to make a positive change now rather than wait to be elected.
My deepest respect to RIP Medical and the initiative and hard work of Max Gundlach and Jack Palfrey (the impressive high school students who are the co-founders of Andover Debt Initiative. Not only do they understand that in the richest nation in the world no one should risk financial ruin because they or someone they love got ill, they chose to do something about it.
Finally, by doing this, I hope too to call attention to the critical fact that our nation deserves a baseline of medicare for all and that our democracy could be revitalized by publicly funded elections.