Commentary

McClatchy Partners With RIP Medical Debt To Ease Financial Burden On Veterans

That many veterans and their families face crushing medical debt across the country is no secret. According to the Census Bureau, in 2016, more than half a million veterans were uninsured. Add to that, millions of military families that aren’t fully covered.

That leads to mounting unpaid medical bills.

McClatchy, in partnership with nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, launched a campaign called “The War Within Initiative” on Friday to help ease their financial burden.

The publisher will leverage the reach of its 30 news websites and print editions across the country to urge readers to donate to RIP Medical Debt, in an effort to erase $1 million of owed money.

Related digital stories will feature a donate button, while another call to action will appear on the front page of every newspaper on Veterans Day and will continue to periodically appear on relevant stories and the front page through late January, when the campaign ends.

In addition to using its print and digital network, McClatchy’s content studio — McClatchy Studios — has produced a 10-episode Facebook Watch series called "The War Within," which launches November 28 and is funded by Facebook.

The series follows three Afghanistan War veterans as they cope with the effects of war and the challenges reintegrating into their former lives. A call to action will appear at the end of each episode.

The 10 episodes will also be shared across McClatchy’s newsrooms and a social-media campaign will be used to educate readers about military medical debt and encourage them to donate.

According to McClatchy, more than half of its newsrooms are located less than an hour’s drive from a military base, while those serving communities in Sacramento, Fort-Worth and Miami are located in the states with the highest numbers of veterans. For this reason, McClatchy asked RIP Medical Debt to specifically target the debt of military veterans.

When a veteran’s debt has been purchased and forgiven by RIP Medical Debt, they will receive a letter alerting them.

Since launching in 2014, RIP Medical Debt has wiped out more than $120 million in medical debt. Their goal: To reach $1 billion.

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