Elsewhere online
June 07, 2016

John Oliver and Charity Team to Undo Millions in Medical Debt

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.