Before dying, she made a fund to cancel others' medical debt — nearly $70M worth
Casey McIntyre wanted her legacy to be clearing medical debt for others. But her husband Andrew Gregory says they never dreamed it would get this far.
Who is she? McIntyre was a mother, wife and publisher at Penguin Random House.
- She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer four years ago and died earlier this month, aged 38.
- McIntyre's job provided her with health insurance that her husband described as "really excellent," and as a result, her family was not saddled with thousands of dollars of medical debt.
- This isn't the case for many other Americans —it's estimated that 4 in 10 Americans households owe some sort of health care-related debt.
What did she do? Inspired by the philanthropy of others, McIntyre and Gregory orchestrated what they called a "debt jubilee" in her honor.
- They set up a fund with the nonprofit group RIP Medical Debt, which buys up debt for millions of dollars at a time at a fraction of the original cost. The group says that for every dollar it recieves in donations, it can relieve about $100 of medical debt.
- Here's McIntyre's own explanation via X (formerly Twitter):
a note to my friends: if you’re reading this I have passed away. I’m so sorry, it’s horseshit and we both know it. The cause was stage four ovarian cancer.— Casey McIntyre (@caseyrmcintyre) November 14, 2023
I loved each and every one of you with my whole heart and I promise you, I knew how deeply I was loved. pic.twitter.com/xCtiD93S7T
to celebrate my life, I've arranged to buy up others' medical debt and then destroy the debt. I am so lucky to have had access to the best medical care at @MSKCancerCenter and am keenly aware that so many in our country don't have access to good care. https://t.co/8gAJm5agcp pic.twitter.com/9JOkEoIfsA— Casey McIntyre (@caseyrmcintyre) November 14, 2023
- The post went viral, gaining thousands of likes and impressions on Instagram and X.
- At the time of publication, the fund has received more than $680,000 of the nearly $700,000 goal — which equates to almost $70 million in medical debt for Americans across the country.
- RIP Medical Debt buys the debts just like any other collection company, according to NPR's Yuki Noguchi. But instead of trying to profit from them, they simply notify people that their debts are cleared.
Want to learn about another woman's lasting legacy? Listen to Consider This on the life and work of Rosalynn Carter.
What's her husband saying? Gregory spoke with All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro about his wife's life and legacy.
On what she was like:
On how they came to this decision:
On how many people they've helped:
So, what now?
- This group's wiped out $6.7 billion in medical debt, and it's just getting started
- Millions of U.S. apples were almost left to rot. Now, they'll go to hungry families
The interview with Andrew Gregory was conducted by Ari Shapiro, produced by Mia Venkat and edited by Matt Ozug. contributed to this story
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