Couple Battling Medical Debt Gets "Golden Ticket" Wiping Some Of It Away - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Medical Debt Epidemic

Medical Debt Epidemic

Tackling the "Medical Debt Epidemic,” helping North Texas families erase medical debt and minimize medical bills.

Couple Battling Medical Debt Gets "Golden Ticket" Wiping Some Of It Away

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    Couple Battling Medical Debt Gets "Golden Ticket"

    NBC Owned Television Stations, the parent company of NBC 5, partnered with the charity RIP Medical Debt to eliminate millions of dollars of medical debt for people across North Texas. (Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018)

    John And Regina Foutch, do everything together... even checking the mail.

    "We said I do for life and we still do," said John.

    When they got an envelope in the mail last week, it was a golden ticket of sorts.

    One of their medical bills was paid off. John remembers opening it up.

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    "Balance abolished. I said, 'Momma, abolished, that means it's no more.' She said yeah. I said '$1,145 now who paid that momma? I ain't paid it.' I didn't have the money to pay it," recalled John.

    It's hard to fathom the money wasn't there. After all, Johnny, as he is often called, was a bit of superstar in his day.

    "I’ve traded horses. So I’ve owned over 2500 head of horses probably," said John.

    From Ross Downs in Colleyville to racetracks in Mexico. Johnny was a Texas version of the horse whisperer.

    He bought horses people thought didn't have what it took to race and he turned them into champions, again and again.

    His Dad was a horse farmer and John carried his father's torch, until John had a stroke, and then another and another.

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    "I had my eleventh, no 13th stroke on the race track galloping," said John.

    The stokes led to Parkinson's and Narcolepsy. John also had "a couple" heart attacks.

    After all that, the man who helped race horse owners make millions could barely put food on the table.

    "We're living on what little check I draw to try to pay the light bill and the water bill, and try to have a little money left over to get a little food to eat. we're just having a hard time altogether around," said Regina.

    Add in the medical debt from all those strokes and the heart attacks and you see their reality.

    "They call me every day from different places saying 'Mr. Foutch you owe this, you owe that,' I tell you the same thing I did when they did the work. 'I don't have the money, I don't have a job, I can't pay it,'" he says.

    It's one of the reasons the walk to the mailbox isn't always as fun as it was last week.

    "This is the first good news we got out of this mailbox in years," said John.

    An $1,145 dollar bill for one of the stents put in John's heart paid in full by RIP Medical Debt.

    The group is a debt collector turned debt forgiver. NBC Owned Television Stations partnered with RIP to help people like John all across North Texas.

    "It says this debt has been canceled and abolished by us, using a donation from NBC DFW and NBC 5 Responds," John read from the letter.

    "When we got this, you didn't realize how fast I was dialing those numbers to thank y'all. I'm honored ya'll did this for us," he said.

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    There are more bills Johnny and Regina are facing.

    Even scarier, there are more people just like them, hard working people who's lives were permanently changed because of medical debt.

    RIP medical debt buys these bills for pennies on the dollar, and wipes them away.

    $50 wipes away $5,000 of bills. So far NBC 5 viewers have raised more than $60,000 wiping away millions of dollars in bills.

    If you want to make a donation and help us increase that number, CLICK HERE.

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