John Oliver Buys and Forgives $15 Million in Medical Debt For 9,000 Texans


I want to say that John Oliver is a national treasure, but sadly, he’s not an American treasure. He’s just a global treasure that has decided to come to the United States like a traveling trophy. We should cherish him while he’s here.

Why? Well, check out the following segment from lat night’s Last Week Tonight:

He spent 20 minutes tearing into the debt-buying industry, then bought some debt himself… to turn around and forgive it in “the largest one-time giveaway in television show history.”

If you don’t have time to watch the clip, the Boston Globe did a nice, succinct summation of how that went:

For $50, he set up a debt-buying company and named it Central Asset Recovery Professionals, or CARP, “after a bottom-feeding fish,” he explained. Then he made himself the chairman of the board, and bought a portfolio of nearly $15 million in debt for $60,000. Rather than ruthlessly harass the people who owed the money — “I could legally have CARP take possession of that debt and have employees start calling people, turning their lives upside down over medical debt” — he said he was forgiving it all.

What he did in creating a debt-buying company, of course, was just to prove a larger point, just like when he created a tax-exempt church or Stephen Colbert made a superPAC.

He said, “Now, clearly, this is only going to help the 9,000 people whose medical debt we bought. The large issue is, we need much clearer rules and tougher oversight to protect consumers from potentially predatory companies like the one we set up.”

[image via screengrab]

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