John Oliver Forgives Nearly $15 Million In Medical Debt


John Oliver incorporated the Central Asset Recovery Professionals (CARP, named for the bottom-feeders) debt collection firm for $50 and purchased $60,000 in medical debt. He then promptly forgave the debt allowing 9,000 people to walk away from nearly $15 Million in zombie medical debt. Debt collection is a grimy and under-regulated business and John Oliver does a great job of lambasting their predatory practices.

It should be noted that back in 2012, Occupy Wall Street did a similar thing called a Rolling Jubilee

Occupy Your Personal Debt

Occupy Wall Street has come up with an incredible financial hack that promises to help people by subverting a predatory financial system with a Rolling Jubilee. David Rees’s explains:

OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)

This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy. As you can see from our test run, the return on investment approaches 30:1. That’s a crazy bargain!

Hopefully this will help catalyze some sort of structural change like a law that says than any time a debt is sold, the debtor should have right of first refusal (If a debt collection agency can buy my debt for pennies on the dollar, I should be offered the opportunity to pay it off at the same discount.) and at the same time it will help individuals being crushed with debt.