The nonprofit that teamed with comedian John Oliver to retire nearly $15 million in Texas patients’ hospital debt aims to erase at least $1 billion owed by low-income people for medical care, health-news site Stat writes.
RIP Medical Debt was started by two former debt-collection workers who changed their ways after talking to Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York. “They were very concerned about consumer debt and poverty,” said co-founder Craig Antico. “And they came up with the idea of buying medical debt to show how the debts are bought and sold.”
Mr. Oliver skewered the debt-acquisition industry and its aggressive collection tactics in a segment Sunday on his HBO show Last Week Tonight that ended with his forgiveness of $14.9 million in debt he had purchased for less than half a cent on the dollar. The host noted on the air that he was turning the debt over to RIP Medical Debt for disposition. The organization, which just attained 501(c)(3) status last month, raises money to buy and retire debt for people with annual incomes of less than twice the federal poverty level.