Skip to main content

Today, Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street which organized the Rolling Jubilee to raise money for debt relief, announced it's first major purchase of and elimination of said debt.  Approximately $50,000 of the money they've raised was used to retire $1,000,000 in medical debt in their first major purchase on the 'open debt' market. (In December, 2012, they commenced to do a 'trial buy' of medical debt, using $5,000 to purchase $100,000 of unpaid medical debt.)

We are very happy to announce that we have completed our second purchase of medical debt. This time, we bought and abolished over $1 million in debt from emergency rooms in Kentucky and Indiana. The average debtor owed around $900 and we will be abolishing the debt of over 1,000 people! We are sending the letters to the debtors as we type this. We are very concerned with the privacy of debtors, but if any of them come forward and want to share their stories, we will make them public...
The Rolling Jubilee started, well, rolling, back in November, 2012, and went viral. Hoping to raise $50,000 to buy medical debt at pennies on the dollar, by the time they stopped asking for donations in January, 2013 they had raised more than $500,000, enough to buy up more than $11,000,000 in medical debt and burn it.

But the effort was not so much about any individual's debt which might be eradicated, rather to call attention to the whole, evil idea.

From the beginning of the project over six months ago we have been very clear about three things we want from this project: (1) to provide some real relief for those around the country who are struggling under the crushing burden of debt; (2) to change the conversation around debt and austerity; and (3) to help advance debt resistance as part of a larger movement capable of bringing about a profound transformation of our economic system...

When starting Rolling Jubilee we committed to buying medical debt first and foremost, wanting to call attention to the profound inhumanity and inequity of our for-profit healthcare system. We have spent a great deal of time learning about the medical debt market, and the healthcare industry at large. It is an industry designed to confuse, overwhelm, and exploit. Though one in three people have medical debt, very few know that their debts are for sale on the secondary market, nor do they realize that old medical bills can negatively impact their credit scores, often with disastrous consequences for their financial well being.

Medical debt. A concept that barely exists in civilized countries. Yet here in the United States we continue the barbarous practice of kicking people when they are most down and out. Can you imagine trying to recover from a major illness while worrying all the time about how you will ever pay for your treatment and being hounded by debt collectors to boot?
People are made to suffer twice, first from injury or illness and then financial extortion. We are all forced into debt while private insurance companies, banks and real estate moguls profit off of our misery. We refuse to accept this. We want to use the attention these buys will generate to have an impact on the struggle for real, free, accessible healthcare for the 99%. There are real solutions being proposed as alternatives to Obama's Affordable Care Act: a single-payer healthcare system would save the U.S. $400 billion dollars every year; even just expanding Medicare to all would save $68 billion by 2020. Creating a public alternative or single-payer system are some of the many ways to strike debt.
It's time to 'Just Say No!' to medical debt and our system of health care for profit.


Previous Rolling Jubilee Diaries:

'Tis the Season to StrikeDebt: Done! $100,000 in Medical Debt Goes Up in Smoke. Much More to Follow.

What Would You Do If You Owned (Not Owed!) $10,000,000 In Debt? Rolling Jubilee Will Burn It.

Rolling Jubilee Hits $8,000,000 in Medical Debt to be Retired Uncollected. MORE UPDATES!


Other Strike Debt Chapters:

Strike Debt Chicago

Strike Debt Bay Area

Strike Debt Boston

Join the growing resistance!

1:31 PM PT:
Bridget Williams ‏@bridgetwi
Oh what did I do today?  Helped abolish $1M of medical debt for people. Talk about ROI   cc @StrikeDebt
 Retweeted by StrikeDebt

Originally posted to jpmassar on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Policy Zone, Healthcare Reform - We've Only Just Begun, Single Payer: The Fight for Medicare for All, Single Payer California, Invisible People, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Anti-Capitalist Chat.


I have

25%40 votes
74%119 votes

| 159 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

felix19, Odysseus, samizdat, glitterscale, Gooserock, Emerson, Shockwave, wu ming, cotterperson, hyperstation, mslat27, eeff, red moon dog, exNYinTX, Creosote, Scott in NAZ, 88kathy, cyberKosFan, susakinovember, srkp23, boadicea, fumie, wader, NMRed, TiaRachel, MagentaMN, riverlover, AllisonInSeattle, zerelda, ybruti, joanneleon, ExStr8, kbman, maybeeso in michigan, radarlady, Shrew in Shrewsbury, irate, WellstoneDem, Brooke In Seattle, eru, RedPrairie, where4art, Sandino, kaliope, LucyandByron, Ozzie, Ginny in CO, Lisa Lockwood, psyched, Box of Rain, kathny, Jim R, Jim P, begone, forbodyandmind, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, tobendaro, AoT, kck, Sebastian Trump, StrayCat, Zwoof, Turbonerd, IL clb, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, blueoregon, Little, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, ChadmanFL, SpecialKinFlag, offgrid, gloriana, karmsy, beth meacham, Mary Mike, 18038, terabytes, deepeco, Unbozo, second gen, carpunder, skod, Korkenzieher, cynndara, mconvente, also mom of 5, Involuntary Exile, elwior, Lujane, tofumagoo, Cassandra Waites, smartdemmg, bluesheep, petulans, allie123, JamieG from Md, enufisenuf, DontTaseMeBro, Carol in San Antonio, shopkeeper, EquationDoc, petral, MKSinSA, bfitzinAR, COwoman, Ibis Exilis, sfarkash, nancat357, catilinus, Larsstephens, Words In Action, FogCityJohn, piers, cordgrass, ItsSimpleSimon, Publius2008, Betty Pinson, Oh Mary Oh, nosleep4u, janemas, ladywithafan, afisher, implicate order, vahana, anyname, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, trumpeter, boomerchick, mrsgoo, Haf2Read, marleycat, Lusty, KVoimakas, Grandma Susie, PhilJD, caryltoo, BlueDragon, YaNevaNo, AnnetteK, OldDragon, anodnhajo, laurustina, barkingcat, Joieau, Horace Boothroyd III, This old man, TBug, Rizzo, Margd, ShoshannaD, Chaddiwicker, jbob, JayRaye, weck, Yo Bubba, GwenM, ProgressivePatriotPA, Scottie Thomaston, solarbay, missmollie33, pragmaticidealist, Bon Temps, thinkcontext

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site