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Early ‘wow’ moment for 2022 January 29, 2022 at 2:58 a.m.

We watch Ukraine and the forces of Russia's new tsar surrounding it. ISIS isn't dead yet; it still fights in Syria. The BBC reports that doctors are begging for food in northern Ethiopia.

A bridge collapses. Consumer spending drops. Inflation is up and the stock market's down. And you only get mugged if you go downtown.

And then, renewal. Like the sunshine after a massive thunderstorm. One walks out into the air, smiles into the sun, and feels the warmth. And thanks heaven above for something good.

One story has us thinking that mankind ain't so bad after all. It appeared on Friday's front page. Nearly 24,000 people in Arkansas had their medical debts paid off by philanthropic organizations this week. According to Tess Vrbin's article, $35.2 million was wiped out for indebted Arkansans across all 75 counties.

Talk about renewal. Imagine how these 23,896 people feel this morning, knowing that they won't be getting those letters--or those phone calls--from collectors any longer. Imagine if one of your big bills disappeared overnight, and you could put that money to other use. From the story:

"Those benefiting from the payoff will receive letters from the national nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which worked with the Arkansas Community Foundation, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Hope Credit Union, and other donors to collect and distribute the money."

Those in the know say 29 percent of adults in America have debt in collections, among them 37 percent of Arkansans. In fact, according to the story, Arkansas has the second highest number of non-elderly adults in the nation with past-due medical debt.

There are a lot of factors that lead to medical debt. This column doesn't have the space to list them all. Sometimes it's the fault of the system. Sometimes not. Government has been going around and around with this problem for a generation. If it was back-of-the-envelope easy, it would have been fixed by now.

But for 23,896 people this morning, it has been fixed. Through the generosity of others. It is remarkable. That is, somebody should remark.

Who says the newspaper only prints bad news? Sometimes the news is a pleasure to report.

Print Headline: Medical debt


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