Debt

April 23, 2013;Louisville Courier-Journal

“BALANCE DUE: $0.00”

That’s the opening to a certified letter sent to 1064 people in the Louisville area who owed serious medical debts.

The Rolling Jubilee Fund has as its goal the buying and abolishing of defaulted personal debt (as opposed to letting it be acquired and pursued by debt collectors) and so it reportedly has bought and forgiven more than a million dollars’ worth of medical debt for Louisville residents, ranging from $25.50 to $8,790.

Medical debt is, of course, famously the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country. The fund uses donations to purchase debt from debt brokers and collection agencies for pennies on the dollar.

“We believe that no one should have to go into debt for the basic things in our lives, like healthcare, housing and education,” said Thomas Gokey, the organization’s vice president. Gokey believes that a double standard exists where debt is concerned; Wall Street banks that owe billions of dollars are bailed out, while “the same options are not available for the 99 percent.”

The Rolling Jubilee Fund is not releasing the name of the agency it bought the debt from, or the names of those who have benefited from the project. “We are committed to protecting the privacy of debto