California church pays $5.3 million in medical debt for over 5,000 families

Christmas Tree

A church in California plans to pay off $5.3 million in medical debt for 5,555 families in several Los Angeles communities.

Christian Assembly bought the debt for $53,000 and is working with a nonprofit organization to pay the outstanding bills.

Co-lead Pastor Tom Hughes said in a video posted online last week, “We are able to give a Christmas gift to the people of Los Angeles. No strings attached.”

He went on to say that medical debt is a “crushing weight” on people and said it was among the leading causes of homelessness. The debt also is the root of 60% of the nation’s cases of personal bankruptcy and 75% of those people had health insurance according to Hughes.

The church is partnering with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit out of New York that pledges to eliminate $10,000 in medical debt for every $100 donation.

“This is an act of biblical justice and generosity on behalf of the poor done in Jesus’ name,” the church said in a statement. “People affected in the 28 neighborhoods are getting letters this week with the good news.”