Following the lead set by TV stations, churches, and local governments, the governor of Connecticut has announced his intention to spend $20 million to purchase and then forgive $2 billion of unpaid medical debts for residents of The Nutmeg State. The announcement represents one of the largest plans to cancel medical debt, both for the amount proposed and the entity that would be making the purchase.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced the plan late last week. Similar to what was done in Toledo and Pittsburgh, the plan would be to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to purchase unpaid medical debts for individuals living in Connecticut, and then inform those individuals that their debts have been forgiven and do not have to be repaid. The purchase would be funded through RIP Medical Debt, which has been partnering with organizations across the country for a number of years to buy and forgive medical debts. This would be the first state to work with the organization.
Given the widespread publicity from Gov. Lamont’s announcement, it’s easily conceivable to see other states, especially those led by Democrats, to take similar action.
“Several state and local governments have seen significant success at canceling medical debt for their residents using this model, and I think this is absolutely the right way to use this COVID-recovery funding,” Lamont said. “This initiative will not only help Connecticut residents who are saddled with debt financially, but it also lifts the significant emotional toll that this type of debt has on individuals who do not have the means to get out, especially for those who are simultaneously experiencing significant medical problems. This debt erasure will put millions of dollars back into the Connecticut economy and provide an economic stimulus to local communities.”
The official announcement is expected to be included in Gov. Lamont’s budget address to the state legislature, which is scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday.