St. Louis churches found a brilliant way to eliminate $12.9 million in medical debt for more than 11,000 families
via Wil C.Fry / Flickr

Medical debt is a huge problem in America. It's estimated that 43 million Americans owe $75 billion in past-due medical bills.

Medical debt is highest in states that refused to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Studies show that in states that expanded Medicaid through the ACA, the percentage of nonelderly, low-income adults with medical debt dropped from 43% to 30% from 2012 to 2015. In states that did not, the number only fell 7%.


Missouri has the seventh-highest number of adults 18 to 64 who have past due medical debt, with 30.6%. The state is one of the 14 that refused to expand coverage under the ACA.

Should the state continue to refuse expansion, it will miss out on $17.8 billion in federal funding from 2013 to 2022.


via BCNN / Twitter

The United Church of Christ and the Deaconess Foundation found a brilliant way to wipe out $12.9 million in medical debt for low-income families in the St. Louis area. They partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based nonprofit organization, to buy the debt that would have been purchased by a debt collection agency.

Hospitals and other health organizations sometimes sell off debt they deem uncollectible to collection agencies for pennies on the dollar. The debt collection agencies then profit off the payments they receive from the outstanding debt.

RELATED: An emotional Michael Jordan opens his first clinic for the uninsured and underinsured

Fourteen UCC congregations raised about $60,00 for the program and the Deaconess Foundation contributed $40,000 to the campaign. Altogether, the organizations spent around $100,000 to eliminate nearly $13 million in debt.

"How better could our $40,000 have been invested in campaigns in this community?" Rev. Starsky Wilson, president of the Deaconess Foundation, told St. Louis Today.

"How better could the churches of the United Church of Christ have spent the more than $60,000 that they have invested in this campaign? How better could $12.9 million be put on purpose in our community so that our children live in a better world?" he continued.

In the coming days, 11,108 families will receive notices in the mail that their debt had been paid off by the churches.

RELATED: Pennsylvania is investing in its future by giving every newborn a $100 toward college.

"I feel like it's going to be a life-changer for me and my family," Teara Norris, 34, one of the recipients, told St. Louis Today. "I am going to be able to not worry and stress about the medical bills that I have. … It's going to prepare me to take care of my family."

via OhioMHAS Public Affairs / Flickr

The effort was also a push for the state of Missouri to expand Medicaid coverage throughout the state. Missouri's Republican Governor Mike Parsons has refused to expand coverage in the state calling it a "massive tax increase that Missourians cannot afford."

There is a petition to get a ballot measure that would expand Medicaid on the November 2020 ballot. If approved, the Missouri Medicaid Expansion Initiative would require the state government to provide Medicaid for persons under the age of 65 whose incomes are equal to or below 138 percent of the official poverty line as set forth in the ACA.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

via Pexels and @drjoekort / TikTok

Gay sex and relationships therapist Dr. Joe Kort is causing a stir on TikTok where he explains why straight men who have sex with men can still be considered straight. If a man has sex with a man doesn't it ultimately make him gay or bisexual?

According to Kort, there can be a big chasm between our sexual and romantic orientations.

"Straight men can be attracted to the sex act, but not to the man. Straight men having sex with men doesn't cancel somebody's heterosexuality any more than a straight woman having sex with a woman cancels her [heterosexuality]," he says in the video.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

Keep Reading Show less