A Viral Post on Social Media Will Clear the Medical Debt of Strangers
“To celebrate my life, I’ve arranged to buy up others’ medical debt and then destroy the debt,” reads a posthumous tweet posted Tuesday after the death of 38-year-old Casey McIntyre.
McIntyre, who served as publisher at Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House, was diagnosed in 2019 and proceeded through treatment without taking on debt, [husband Andrew Rose] Gregory told The Washington Post. But many fellow cancer patients she met were in more precarious financial positions, Gregory added. “We were both so keenly aware that Casey had great health insurance through Penguin Random House,” said Gregory, 41. “Casey had no medical debt….”
About nine months before McIntyre died, her husband came across a video online about members of a North Carolina church who purchased nearly $3.3 million of local residents’ medical debt for $15,048 in a “debt jubilee,” a historical reference to ancient stories about personal debts being canceled at regular intervals. The couple chose to make monthly donations to RIP Medical Debt, the same organization that partnered with the North Carolina churchgoers. The nonprofit organization aims to abolish medical debt “at pennies on the dollar,” according to its website. For every $100 donated, the company relieves $10,000 of medical debt. As of Saturday, nearly $200,000 had been donated to RIP Medical Debt in McIntyre’s memory, which would wipe out approximately $20 million of unpaid medical bills. [By Sunday afternoon it had risen to over $334,000…]
Allison Sesso, president and chief executive of RIP Medical Debt, said her organization found out about McIntyre’s case after McIntyre’s posthumous social media post went viral. Sesso said the pace of donations was record-setting for her charity. “What an incredible gesture to the world as you’re exiting,” Sesso told The Post. “This final act of generosity is blowing up. The amount that they’re raising and the rate at which this has gone is not something that we’re used to.”
McIntyre’s post on X has now received 65,400 likes — and 3,086 reposts.