Tags: john oliver | medical debt | oprah winfrey

John Oliver Buys, Forgives $15M in Medical Debt in Televised Segment

Image: John Oliver Buys, Forgives $15M in Medical Debt in Televised Segment
(LastWeekTonight via YouTube)

By    |   Monday, 06 Jun 2016 01:47 PM

John Oliver announced on his HBO show, "Last Week Tonight," that he bought and forgave $15 million worth of medical debt in a move that could be television's biggest giveaway since Oprah Winfrey's free car episode.

Oliver said the debt acquisition company he created, Central Asset Recovery Professionals (CARP), bought $14.9 million of medical debt involving 9,000 people for "less than half a cent on a dollar, which is less than $60,000," The Guardian reported.

"Once the company has bought your debt, whether the information is accurate or not, they are going to try to collect on it," Oliver said Sunday. "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. And it was disturbingly easy."

Oliver said he partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that forgives medical debt, to retire the debts.

During the announcement, he said he's topped Winfrey's $8 million vehicle giveaway to her talk show audience in 2004, where she gave all 276 members a Pontiac G6 sedan.

"The segment included a hidden camera brought into a Debt Buyers Association conference by 'Last Week Tonight' staffers, which showed panelists appearing to scoff at how Americans don't understand their legal rights about paying their debts," wrote CNN.

RIP Medical Debt stated on its website Sunday that that they hoped Oliver's episode will educate people on their rights regarding debt.

"Thanks to this June 5 airing of the HBO comedy series, 'Last Week Tonight' Show with John Oliver, there are a lot more of us now privy to this collection industry practice and the debt treadmill it creates. In a painfully hilarious (debt as funny? Somehow, yes) piece, John Oliver triumphantly Out-Oprah's Oprah in giving away valuable gifts."

In 2014, the nonprofit Rolling Jubilee made headlines by raising enough money to purchase and forgive $18.5 million in medical and student loan debt, wrote The Plain Dealer.

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John Oliver announced on his HBO show, "Last Week Tonight," that he bought and forgave $15 million worth of medical debt in a move that could be television's biggest giveaway since Oprah Winfrey.
john oliver, medical debt, oprah winfrey
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2016-47-06
Monday, 06 Jun 2016 01:47 PM
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