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As More Americans Rely on Charity to Pay Medical Bills, Local Seattle News Station Buys and Forgives $1 Million of Debt


As More Americans Rely on Charity to Pay Medical Bills, Local Seattle News Station Buys and Forgives $1 Million of Debt

Julia Conley, staff writer

A CBS-affiliated local TV station in Seattle is sending notices to about 1,000 area residents telling them that the station has wiped out a portion of their overdue medical bills.

After interviewing a woman who was unable to afford cancer treatment due to the hospital bills she would incur, KIRO-TV worked with a New York-based charity called RIP Medical Debt to buy $1 million worth of debt owed by people in the station's coverage area.


Wait, what?
So what’s stopping an org, from setting up in every major city and every state, to do this for everyone with outstanding medical bills? Lawyers among us, is this possible?
If so, it would be outstanding.


This is not a time to thank anyone for a system that sucks the life out of the very same people it claims to save.

Why do this, it only encourages it to continue. So what’s next, all the “little” or rather “regular” (Munchkin’s spouse’s new and improved protocol for dealing w/the masses) people are at the whim of the wealthy to come along and spend what they pay for a bottle of wine to wipe out $1 Million in medical debt that the not as fortunate are able to pay.

This keeps intact hospitals and insurance co’s system of overcharging and getting what they can from the sick. They know a good portion will never be paid, they expect this – THEY’RE padding the bill. It is common practice. My father was hospitalized (on Medicare, with Gap Insurance) yet he was still charged $28,000 for his portion of the bill. He should not have had to pay anything but a modest co-pay. Neither the hospital nor his insurance would budge. He had to hire an attorney to straighten this out. This is absurd.

“$12,000 to purchase and forgive $1 million in overdue medical bills—similarly to how collection agencies can buy a $1,000 medical bill for as little as $10”

The patient’s credit is ruined. They’re probably still sick and if not their chances for employment are slim to none. They now have a poor credit rating. They won’t be eligible for many well-paid jobs or government jobs, etc.


We are going to pay for single payer by ending the war machine and raise taxes on those who have the money such as Trump’s 1%. And we need to demand funding to get us all on ‘fast track’ to saving our dying ecosystems.This we can rally around which means unrelenting and focused demand using Gandhian non cooperation which will include boycotts.


But only as a stop get measure while we organize and organize to completely change this corrupt system of exploitation.


I am 100% on the same page. Until that happens, I see nothing wrong with providing a helping hand to these poor souls (pun intended).


I wonder if the recipient is liable for taxes on the forgiven debt as income. It commonly happens.


Right now, the way it works is that predatory investors buy old debt for pennies on the dollar, and then they aggressively go after the debtors for the full amount, plus whatever interest and fees they can tack on, and if they can’t collect, they sell it off to someone else who kicks off a new cycle of abusive collection harassment. Buying the debt and forgiving it, or allowing the original debtors to buy their own debt as cheaply as the investors can, helps to displace the parasites and leaves more money in the hands of people who are going to spend it in ways that are better for the general economy than siphoning that money up into accounts of the investor class. There’s also the possibility that many of these people loaded with old debt are also trying to cope with new debt, and removing the burden of the old debt might help with that. There might even be cases where dissolving old medical bills could help with paying down newer medical bills, so the providers who sold the old debt in the first place at least have a chance of benefiting from dissolution, whereas they have no chance to benefit from the way the parasites will try to siphon up money from it.

I was thinking about this when Last Week Tonight dissolved around $12 million in old debt. Cost them around $60,000 to do that, but then that money was gone. If they could have sold that debt to the original debtors for five to ten bucks per thousand dollars, seems like they could have kept the process going, at least a while longer.


Americans should have a world class, not for profit universal health care system that makes kind of charity redundant.


This is a wonderful story to read, and I hope the spirit for such action is contagious.

The Pentagon loses more money than that in accounting errors in a day.

This government has no moral compass at all.


The good hearted weekend charity marathons are aiding the MIC to mask the injustice of the whole system we are beholden to instead of demanding the most cost effective method of delivering affordable health care: Government run Universal Health Care for ALL (no exceptions). Simultaneously, demand is needed to end crony capitalism disparity of wealth, to end the source of all trouble, which is CLASSISM. We need a basic living income for all, allowing people to work at careers that match their talents and which careers do not exploit anyone, hence are not for gaining wealth and power over others… which would be the best for peace and the planet, but hush! Mustn’t even whisper about such even in church!
We need a cooperative socialist society to take care of corruption and sick social problems. Plus, that would give life greatest joy. It would be great if our nation could lead in world peace with politics of love, for a change.


Except there can no longer be a 1% and its hierarchy pyramid if we are to become human! This means demanding a good standard of living for all, excess not needed and seen as greedy waste of natural resources. There is plenty of good work to do which currently does not “pay” but is beneficial, productive and rewarding!


This should be the goal, but it’s not going to happen in our lifetimes. We do need to drop any connection to “social”-anything, that just seems to rub the neanderthals the wrong way. (Note, the word “social” does not exist in the name of the Fire Department ie Social Fire Dept or the Police Force ie Social Police Dept, Medicare ie Social Medicare, Social Security is the exception.)

Imagine the day when humans finally figure out that “work” isn’t really the be-all, end-all. Living a good life, learning (that includes travel) and contributing are. This means that all people, as a birthright, are entitled to the medical care they need–when they need it, food and shelter w/out stress or worry and lifelong education w/no constraints (or student loans). This will be, in essence, the 2nd enlightenment.

The idea already exists. Buckminister Fuller had it some 70 years ago:

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

― R. Buckminster Fuller


Lynn1, Thank you, perfect!!
But if we keep saying not in our lifetime, then never.
After hearing Parkland kids, I have new hope. :slight_smile: