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News report on medical debt turns into much more

If you drive nonstop northeast of Brevard County for a couple of days, you'll arrive in beautiful Seattle, Washington. The city is known for its Space Needle, rainy weather and Seahawks. is the site of a recent feel-good story about medical debt.

It is also where a TV station recently aired a news story about how people struggle with the burden of medical debt. KIRO took the story a step further: the station and its consumer reporter paid off $1.1 million of medical debt for about 1,000 people in the state of Washington.

The station and reporter donated $12,000 to a nonprofit called RIP Medical Debt. The charity then buys up and retires medical debt.

KIRO reported that medical debt often has the qualities of a vampire. It lives forever, draining you of your assets.

Because medical debt is often sold many times, it can grow -- interest can be 12 percent or more -- into impossibly large sums over time. An attorney who spoke with the Seattle station pointed out that about 40 percent of Americans will have medical debt and that about half of those debts will go into collections.

"We are going to create a situation where people are afraid to go to the hospital or put off important and needed medical service because they can't afford it," the lawyer said.

For some people struggling with medical debt, bankruptcy offers a way out from under. Of course, their credit rating is demolished will be demolished in bankruptcy and many people find out that they must sell their home, cars, investments and more in bankruptcy.

Many people opt to speak with an attorney experienced in negotiating with creditors to get debt reduced. In this way, you can pay pennies on the dollar while not sacrificing your credit rating.

Contact Cantwell & Goldman, PA, for more information.

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