Medical Debt in America

Fair Fight Pays Off $212 Million in Medical Debt Across the South, Forgiving the Debt of 108K People.

Stacey Abrams' organization, Fair Fight, paid off:

  • $212 million in medical debt

  • for 108,243 families

  • living in Georgia, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

Over 40% of forgiven debt is outside Fair Fight’s home state of Georgia. 


Fair Fight worked with RIP Medical Debt to ensure the debt was forgiven without regard to race or political affiliation. This debt forgiveness campaign comes as Fair Fight continues to advocate for sustainable solutions through Medicaid expansion and protection of rural hospitals. 

Fair Fight and Stacey Abrams' leadership in taking action to alleviate medical debt immediately, not just promising change once elected, sets an example that every politician should follow. Actions speak louder than words and their job is to lead through service—and they have done just that. 

Fair Fight’s medical debt forgiveness initiative has never been more needed. COVID-19 has increased medical debt astronomically across the country—surpassing the $141 billion mark in 2021 and showcasing a broken healthcare system that is either inaccessible or unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of Americans. 

If you would like to help those struggle with medical debt from COVID, learn more about RIP Medical Debt and the impacts in each state here.

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More About Medical Debt

Nearly 1-in-5 Americans have medical debt. Overcoming this $141 billion crisis will not be easy, but we believe it can be done. 

Key Facts to Know


  • 17.8% of Americans have medical debt

  • About 25 million American households (19%) struggle to pay medical debt in full 

  • Average medical debt in 2020 was $2,024

  • Debt crisis is the worst in the South 

  • 27.9% of Black households have medical debt compared to 17.2% of White households and 9.7% Asian households (US Census)

  • Households with children under age 18 are more likely than those without children to carry medical debt (US Census

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Though these statistics are overwhelming, the news is not all bad. In states which expanded Medicaid, medical debt has declined by 44% since 2014, a 4.5x decrease compared to states that did not expand Medicaid. And households with full health insurance coverage have a median medical debt of $2,000, whereas households without full insurance coverage have a median debt of $3,000.

This indicates that by expanding insurance coverage in the United States, we can reduce the medical debt burden and fortify our economy.


While reducing the nation’s overall medical debt will require expansive policy changes that provide medical insurance to everyone, there are actions that you can take today to lessen your own medical debt and prevent it from accruing in the future. You might even qualify for charity care, which can drastically reduce your medical bills. 

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Map shows medical debt concentration by geographic area across the United States. 

SOURCE: Stanford, Institute for Economic Policy Research.

You can also help me a part of a more immediate solution by donating to relieve medical debt through RIP Medical Debt, an organization that pays off medical debt to give people a fresh start. Both individuals and organizations can contribute. 

Learn More About Medical Debt in the USA

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