Cox Media Group’s CBS affiliate KIRO-TV Seattle relieved $1 million in viewers’ medical debt following consumer Advocate Jesse Jones’ investigation into the medical debt collection system. Medical debt is the top cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., with 19 percent of Americans in collections. KIRO-TV and Jones then worked with RIP Medical Debt to purchase $1 million worth of medical debt for $12,000.
More than 1,000 viewers received a letter informing them that their debt was paid. The original segment on February 5 received an extraordinary response by viewers wanting to help. As a result, KIRO-TV is seeking a platform to allow viewers to donate toward helping others pay off medical debt.
“I am a cancer survivor who has survived medical debt,” said Jones. “I’ve been on payment plans. I also have a job and insurance, but there are others out there not as fortunate as I am. It’s important to me to share their stories… and make a difference.”
“We are proud to support Jesse’s commitment to consumer advocacy and our entire news staff will continue to deliver in-depth and investigative reporting to help our viewers stay informed about major stories that impact their lives,” said Vice President and General Manager Greg Bilte.