Comedian, political commentator and television host, John Oliver, on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, tackled the issue of medical debt in an unexpected way. He bought peoples debts, and then forgave them, free of charge. Nice.
Oliver said, “Clearly, if you have debts, you should pay them if you can. But many people can find themselves in debt through no direct fault of their own.”
John Oliver bought nearly $15 million worth of medical debt (at a cost of $60K) for 9,000 people. Then forgave it. https://t.co/nyp0cqvuTV
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) June 6, 2016
The Last Week Tonight host started his own acquisition company called Central Asset Recover Professionals after conducting an expose on the debt-collection industry and came up with a means to pay $15Million debt for 9000 people.
Among those who benefited are some lucky Texas residents who got their medical debt paid off.
The expose read:
Eight months ago, Charles Wilson, a researcher from John Oliver’s HBO show, Last Week Tonight, contacted us to ask about our project of buying and cancelling debt. The project went viral and has been regularly covered in the press over the years, including the New York Times and the Guardian.
Until we stopped collecting donations last year, we used the $700 thousand we raised to erase over $30 million in predatory medical and tuition debt and more, as well as helping to abolish over $800 million in a class action settlement.
We canceled this debt (without any compensation) to get people to think critically about indebtedness. John Oliver framed the debt buy as his idea: a giveaway to compete with Oprah.
While we are happy that attention is being focused on the destructive nature of the debt collection industry, we ultimately believe that the only solution is for debtors to join together to challenge the underlying economic system that puts people in debt in the first place.
That is why we launched the Debt Collective, so that debtors can build power and fight back together.
Watch John Oliver buy people’s debts.