ABC Hails Connecticut Using Stimulus Dough to Wipe Out Medical Debt, Skips Party ID

Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America, the show that acts more like corporate whores for Disney and flowery nonsense as opposed to a real newscast, swooned with approval at Connecticut Democratic Governor Ned Lamont announcing he’ll use taxpayer funds from Joe Biden’s inflation-inducing boondoggle to wipe out billions in medical debt.

You could tell how excited they were as there was not one but two teases and, worse yet, they didn’t even bother to use describe Lamont as a liberal, progressive, or even a Democrat. The most they did was put a (D) in a chyron.

“Also ahead, we have an ABC News exclusive with the governor of one state making the unprecedented move to wipe out medical debt for thousands struggling to pay their bills. We’ll tell you who qualify for this relief, and will other states follow suit,” weekend co-host Eva Pilgrim boasted.

Co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos told viewers that it’s “a big issue.”

After a second tease with similar verbiage, Pilgrim tossed to correspondent Stephanie Ramos so she could be the one to formally make the “major announcement.”

“Connecticut’s plan to erase medical debt will start to take effect over the next few months and Connecticut residents who qualify will start to see the money by this June. The state says they are prioritizing single parents and lower-income residents,” she began.

Again using the “unprecedented” line Pilgrim did, she added Lamont’s “state will be the first to wipe out medical debt for the thousands of people struggling to pay their bills.” Her on-screen question was a softball too: “Tell us why you’re canceling medical debt now.”

After a Lamont soundbite noting people often fall into that kind of debt “not…because they were spending too much money” but were “hit with a medical emergency,” she pointed out that “[m]edical debt is the number one source of debt collection in the U.S., greater than credit cards, utilities, auto loans, and other sources combined.”

Only halfway in did Ramos explain how it’s going to be paid for and how much it’ll cost:

The state anticipating 250,000 residents will see their medical debt cleared. Lamont announcing he’s leveraging a $6.5 million fund from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to cancel $1 billion in medical debt by working with a nonprofit organization that finds and eliminates debt at a fraction of the cost.

Another Lamont soundbite later, she concluded that “[e]ligible families” won’t need to apply and will “include those whose medical debt equates to five percent or more of their annual income, or whose household income is up to 400 percent above the poverty line.”

Like the good liberal that he is, Stephanopoulos declared this act of government welfare needs to be expanded: “This is such an important issue and this is gonna help so many people. Hope other states follow that lead.”

To see the relevant transcript from February 2, click “expand.”

ABC’s Good Morning America
February 2, 2024
7:02 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

EVA PILGRIM: Also ahead, we have an ABC News exclusive with the governor of one state making the unprecedented move to wipe out medical debt for thousands struggling to pay their bills. We’ll tell you who qualify for this relief, and will other states follow suit.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That is a big issue.

(….)

7:38 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Coming Up; 7:41; ABC News Exclusive]

PILGRIM: Well, coming up next, an ABC News exclusive with the governor of one state making the unprecedented move to wipe out medical debt for thousands struggling to pay their bills.

(….)

7:42 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: ABC News Exclusive; Connecticut to Wipe Out Medical Debt for Thousands; Governor on Why He’s Doing It & Who’s Eligible for Relief]

PILGRIM: Back with an ABC News exclusive interview with the governor of Connecticut who is making a major announcement this morning. He sat down with our Stephanie Ramos, who joins us now. Good morning, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE RAMOS: Eva, good morning. Connecticut’s plan to erase medical debt will start to take effect over the next few months and Connecticut residents who qualify will start to see the money by this June. The state says they are prioritizing single parents and lower-income residents. This morning, in an unprecedented move, Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut announcing his state will be the first to wipe out medical debt for the thousands of people struggling to pay their bills. [TO LAMONT] Tell us why you’re canceling medical debt now.

GOVERNOR NED LAMONT (D-CT): This is not something they did because they were spending too much money. This is something because they got hit with a medical emergency. They should not have to, you know, suffer twice. First with the illness then with the debt.

RAMOS: Medical debt is the number one source of debt collection in the U.S., greater than credit cards, utilities, auto loans, and other sources combined. Almost 20 percent of American households carry medical debt disproportionately impacting black and Latino families. The state anticipating 250,000 residents will see their medical debt cleared. Lamont announcing he’s leveraging a $6.5 million fund from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to cancel $1 billion in medical debt by working with a nonprofit organization that finds and eliminates debt at a fraction of the cost.

LAMONT: I think it’s really important that people have a sense they can start building wealth of their own. We’re making it easier for people to do and the best way to start is eliminate the debt you’ve got.

RAMOS: Eligible families include those whose medical debt equates to five percent or more of their annual income, or whose household income is up to 400 percent above the poverty line. For a family of four, that’s $160,000 a year. That is really welcome news to so many families in Connecticut. There’s no application process to those who want to participate in Connecticut. It’s automatic. And, in cities like Chicago and D.C., who have cancelled debt, the amount per household has ranged, guys, from $25 to six figure amounts. Guys?

SAM CHAMPION: Mmmmm.

STEPHANOPOULOS: This is such an important issue and this is gonna help so many people. Hope other states follow that lead.

CHAMPION: Alright, yep.

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