Comedian John Oliver has partnered with nonprofit group RIP Medical Debt to buy up and forgive nearly $15 million owed by patients for hospital treatment, The Guardian and the Associated Press write. The host of HBO satire show Last Week Tonight announced the deal at the end of a segment Sunday that skewered companies that buy medical debt for pennies on the dollars and aggressively pursue repayment without verifying the circumstances of the debt.
“Debt-buying is a grimy business and badly needs more oversight, because as it stands any idiot can get into it. And I can prove that to you because I am an idiot and we started a debt-buying company,” Mr. Oliver told viewers, explaining that for about $50 he established a firm in Mississippi named Central Asset Recovery Professionals.
for less than $60,000, CARP, as he called it, purchased a portfolio of $14.9 million owed to Texas hospitals. Last Week Tonight is working with RIP Medical Debt to notify the people whose health-care debt has now been cleared. The charity, which is currently focused on buying up U.S. veterans’ debt, said it saw a boost in donations on Monday after the program aired.