A Missouri church has raised enough money to erase $43 million in medical debt incurred by families it was able to help.
Pastors Keith Simon and Patrick Miller of The Crossing, a church based in Columbia, announced on Sunday that the amount raised for those with medical debt was $431,597.30.
"That's what you, The Crossing, have generously given because Jesus paid off our spiritual debts,” the church announced on its Facebook page with the hashtags #JubileeForMissouri and #JesusPaidItAll.
“Thank you to everyone who donated. Your giving will forgive medical debt for thousands of families in Missouri and make God's love known in our community.”
The Crossing partnered with a nonprofit known as RIP Medical Debt, which will use the church’s donation to purchase medical debt at a price of one cent on the dollar.
“Because their medical debt is unlikely to be paid, collection agencies are willing to sell it off for one penny on the dollar. This means that one dollar can buy $100 of medical debt. $100 can buy $10,000,” the pastors explained.
“The people of The Crossing gave $431,000, which RIP Medical Debt will use to purchase, and then forgive $43 million of medical debt. Every person whose debt is forgiven will receive a note from RIP Medical Debt saying that The Crossing paid off their debt.”
The pastors went on to explain that they called their effort a Jubilee in homage to the practice in Ancient Israel in which every 50 years all debts were forgiven.
“It was called the Jubilee. A day of liberation. Debts forgiven. Indentured servants released. Mortgaged property returned. And on this same day everyone’s sins were forgiven,” noted the pastors.
“The Crossing realizes that our community suffers under the burden of both spiritual and financial debt. Medical debt is one of the leading causes of financial bankruptcy and about half of all debt collection is related to unpaid medical expenses.”
RIP Medical Debt was founded in 2014 and is based in New York. The nonprofit garnered major headlines in 2016 when they were positively featured on comedian John Oliver’s HBO series “Last Week Tonight."