Host of local TV show launches campaign to pay for medical debt in Ozarks counties

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The host of “The Mystery Hour” launched a campaign to get rid of $2.7 million worth of medical debt over 15 counties in the Ozarks.

Jeff Houghton, the host, says he wanted to start this campaign because he has seen so much poverty in the Ozarks, and some people are simply unable to pay their medical debts.

“People should not be forced into bankruptcy because of a medical condition,” Houghton said.

Houghton is partnering with “RIP Medical Debt” for this charity campaign.

RIP Medical Debt is a non-profit organization that uses donations to buy medical debt and forgive that debt with no tax consequences.

“We don’t make a penny,” Antico said. “People say well how do you make money? And I’m like we don’t, we’re a charity!”

“The prices are often pretty high and you’re stuck with it,” Houghton said.” Whether it’s like you’re uninsured and it’s astronomical number, or you have insurance and it’s still a good number to get your deductible or whatever. So I just feel a connection to it personally

You may be wondering how this will work, Antico explains.

“We are a debt buyer,” Antico said. “We buy the debt at about a third of what it would cost if we were buying it for profit. And we might buy debt for less than 1percent and that’s how we can give 100 to 1 ratio when you give a dollar, we can abolish 100 dollars.”

“This is not just for the indigent, and the poor, this is for people that are like regular people like you and me that make a good living, but they hard-hit with an expense, and you shouldn’t have to go bankrupt because you got an illness or an accident,” Co-Founder of RIP Medical Debt, Craig Antico said.

The campaign was launched this past Saturday, and they already have almost $6,000 as of right now.

“Living here in the Ozarks, there’s poverty here,” Houghton said. “There’s people that are in a tough place. And so to be able to do something that’s 100x more effective than just raising a dollar for a dollar feels like, felt important to do.”

Here is how much each of the counties owe:

Greene $121,817.77
Polk $61,779.91
Dallas $105,105.30
Webster $60,897.42
Christian $139,094.45
Dade $949.95
Lawrence $76,806.30
Barry $119,144.36
McDonald $733,869.54
Newton $124,237.69
Jasper $606,251.12
Barton $40,558.78
Vernon $56,340.37
Stone $53,763.51
Taney $192,793.37
Cedar County $29,099.86
Wright $28,870.71
Douglas $11,342.39
Ozark $25,653.39
Laclede $181,290.34

Want to donate to the campaign? Click here.

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