Debt Angels: Ex-Bill Collectors Erase Strangers’ Medical Debts With John Oliver & Occupy Wall Street

Half of all debt is medical This is Craig Antico. In 2014, he founded RIP Medical Debt with his co-founder Jerry Ashton. We’re a charity that buys medical debt, and we abolish it. You and I are one accident or one illness away from being destroyed financially. Before Jerry and Craig were debt abolishers. They were debt collectors. A job they didn’t necessarily enjoy. I never liked the debt collection business. I was in a family business I ended up starting to make money early–and then it was so hard to not make money anymore, so I stayed in it. As a bill collector, collecting millions of dollars in medical associated bills in my career, now all of a sudden… I’m reformed! I am a predatory giver! We could thank Occupy Wall Street for that. Occupy was a global progressive protest movement centered around social and economic inequality. The first Occupy protest was Occupy Wall Street It started in New York City in Zuccotti Park, right outside of Jerry’s office. I said that looks interesting. I come from the 60s So I wanted to see if this was real and I decided I wanted to search for the heroes. I wanted to find the people that were there that were going to make a difference and I found a lot of them. Then Occupy people noticed that there was a bill collector in their midst. So one day I was asked to attend a meeting of Occupy Wall Street And they did that they had an idea that wanted to run past me. That idea was the rolling jubilee, a crowdfunded effort to raise $50,000 to purchase 1 million dollars of defaulted debt and abolish it. Occupy wanted to know if Jerry thought their plan was a good idea. I didn’t think much of it. A million dollars worth of medical debt in my world isn’t even a rounding error. I think it might be seen as a gesture. They said well, let’s take a look at it through our eyes. If your medical debt were in that portfolio and forgiven, do you think that you would have considered it to be a gesture? And I said, what do you need? What Occupy needed was expertise. They needed people who understood the debt collection industry So Jerry called Craig and together the pair worked with Occupy to make the idea of the rolling jubilee a reality. Instead of raising $50,000 Occupy was able to raise $700,000. That enabled Jerry and Craig to abolish over forty million dollars in medical, student and payday loan debt. But then something unexpected happened. So one day they came up to us and they said well, we’re gonna close it down. We’re going in another direction. And Craig and I looked at each other and we said we can’t let that happen. We were kind of hooked. We said we’re gonna have to do it ourselves. We’ll probably be able to raise two, three, four, five hundred thousand dollars a year like these Occupy Wall Street people did. Wasn’t true. It’s the hardest thing we ever did. Eventually, Jerry and Craig were able to figure out how to raise enough money to start buying and abolishing medical debt. Due in large part to this guy. It is pretty clear by now 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’m an idiot, and we started a debt buying company. Which he used to abolish almost fifteen million dollars worth of debt through RIP. When John Oliver brought us to everybody’s attention What became a serious attempt to make a difference became an amazing movement. We’ve helped over 250,000 people get out of over 600 million dollars in medical debt. So it took us a while to ramp up, but now we’re gonna reach a billion dollars this year, so… watch out! Hey everybody, thank you for watching this Freethink video about RIP Medical Debt. If you like videos like this, check out all our other ones, I think you’ll like those too–and don’t forget to subscribe. See you next time.

22 comments on “Debt Angels: Ex-Bill Collectors Erase Strangers’ Medical Debts With John Oliver & Occupy Wall Street”

  1. No offense, though says:

    Now who would have thought that a comedian and two debt collectors would improve the system?

  2. 1sweettime says:

    A true Christian believer. God Bless them.

  3. Brandon Zoll says:

    Gosh, we’re going to need a MOVEMENT of Good Samaritans like these champs

  4. Sir Meow The Library Cat says:

    👏 What an inspiring story! Debts are such a torment to so many people, causing immeasurable misery and suffering. I am so grateful to live in a country, Great Britain, that has universal health care (for the time being, given the appalling threats from Brexit) paid through taxation. Here, people are free to pay privately if they prefer, but treatment is still available at the point of need. How humane is that?

  5. Freethink says:

    What would you do if your debts were abolished?

  6. A King says:

    Awesome!!! 😃

  7. Mary Tylman says:


  8. Assaf Wodeslavsky says:

    The question is why are medical bills so high? Why isn’t my dentist bill as high? Why isn’t my veterinary bill so high?

  9. André F. Machado says:

    I am from Brazil. Here, we don't have medical or student debits because our government offers free healthcare and free education for all citizens (despite there is private healthcare and education institutions). Many others countries do it as well, so US could begin to think in offer this to it's citizens. It would save efforts such like from this man and save thousand of lives of unfavored people.

  10. ᙅYᙖᙓᖇ ᗪOᙅ™ says:

    This blew my mind! Roughly 12 yrs ago I suffered a spinal injury while working construction and, even with an outstanding insurance policy was left with an astonishingly high six figure debt. Without going into lurid detail, my surgeons were stellar & recovery time was 6 months before returning to work in an office position. I'll likely never know if it was these two angels or not, but as I struggled to make ends meet I got a random call on my cell phone after work saying that my debt was forgiven. There weren't many details given and I wasn't sure whether to believe it was true or a hoax of some sort until I checked a week later to discover that indeed my entire medical debt was absolved. This event had a profound impact on me and my current view of the world and changed me for the better as a human.

  11. sue JesusistheLord says:

    Here is an idea that I hope someone might notice and I realize it's probably not perfect and sure to be ripped apart, but here it goes. Instead of fighting an endless fight over insurance, who is going to pay, free or not free, blah, blah… would it not be better to just get an average of what an adult spends on health/dental each year, say $ 5,000 and have the ability to write that amount off on your taxes, the entire amount. So if I use $2,000 on medical, as an American I can write that amount off and roll over the unused write off portion of $3,000 to my account, so when I really need it I can use it. Ok, so let's say I feel I could get sick , so I decide that I would feel more comfortable with an additional medical policy. I would still be free to use or buy that. But I think that would eliminate insurance companies from doing the co-pay, deductible, not paying this, that ain't covered BS they pull. If your medical bills go over the write off amount then they must cover, end of story. But this way, no one is forced to purchase a policy. Every tax payer can write off a certain amount, and everyone has the ability to do that to save their used portion into a roll over account. Everyone is treated equally. Everyone has an ability to write off a certain amount. Everyone has a chance to roll over their unused portion and save for when they really need it. Everyone has the option to buy additional insurance or receive through work. There could be a card system without medical details, just the amount spent for tax purposes. Everyone is in control of their own health care spending.

  12. BigMamaDave X says:

    👍😎 What a brilliant idea 💡❗❕ Thank you for reporting on this! 🙏
    👏 SUBBED!

  13. BlackRepublican says:

    It’s sad that people see debt as a torment and not a way to create a credit history.
    1) the government is to blame, since they made their own “healthcare” everything went down hill from there
    2)There are many other ways to pay off a debt or bill. Such as a payroll(paying monthly or anything that suits you)
    3)debt helps you create a credit history for buying a car, or being able to take out a loan.
    5) loan is the actual word not debt why, because debt means you can’t pay the payroll for a significant amount of time and trust me it builds a amazing history when you have pay back loans.
    How I know this. My Uncle had medical problems and car problems now he is living fancy thanks to payroll. It’s better then paying whole, and also do your research before you go somewhere.

  14. gangstalishis says:

    This is something i can get behind. Unlike the student loan debt i view medicare as a right and its insane that even with good medical insurance people still pay a ridiculous amount of money in medical debt.

  15. Jay Lew says:

    That's a great thing to do for medical debt. I don't know if they should take away resources from that and put it towards student loans or payday loan debt. It's a persons choice to attend school and they know what they are signing up for. People don't sign up for having strokes or getting into car accidents. (Also cases should be investigated and I'm sure they are, if someone has injured themselves while at the same time being cited for a DUI or their 2nd or 3rd, that should be pushed for someone else)

  16. Ali Labeeb Alkoka says:

    This is amazing! I wish the men success in their mission!

  17. Bella says:

    This was a beautiful video. Thank you for giving me so much hope for the world. Truly, to see changed hearts and the goodness they bring is inspiring and uplifting

  18. Scott Dieken says:

    Please help stop zombie debt collectors from calling people and threatening to arrest kill and eat their dog. Go to to find out more

  19. Burton Danet says:

    A billion dollars in debt relief? When this goal is reached, there should be a ticker tape parade across every state in the Union to help working towards the 2nd billion mark!

  20. Alex Homer says:

    Good stuff, really, thank you. But, we need more than just charity, we need a system that simply offers better health in all its forms, but also the giving of help when it's needed. Cause there's far more than just medical debt that holds people back and down…


  21. Spritemon 98 says:

    My god this is amazing

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