nspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, a grassroots organization called Strike Debt claims it has bought and abolished over $1 million in medical debt.
The targets of Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee campaign were patients who owed around $900 each for emergency room visits in Kentucky and Indiana. On Thursday, the Occupy offshoot said it bought and then forgave more than 1,000 people’s debts for “pennies on the dollar,” according to a press release.
Their purpose is to call attention to a “predatory” lending system, according to their website. If a hospital is unable to get patients to pay up, it usually sells this debt to a collection agency. And since chances of actually collecting are pretty low at that point, the agency is able to snatch up the debt for a much lower price than the original amount on a patient’s bill. The agency then takes over the job of hounding the debtor for money.
“People are made to suffer twice, first from injury or illness and then financial extortion,” the Rolling Jubilee team stated.