Last week Crain's Detroit Business published a story about an effort by the nurses at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan to buy and forgive the medical debts of 500 patients. This follows a recent story about a similar effort by nurses in Minnesota.
The Michican nurses raised $10,000 and worked with nonprofit RIP Medical Debt to purchase and forgive more than $1 million in debt for the affected families.
RIP is a not-for-profit charity that buys portfolios of medical debt and then forgives the debt. insideARM has written on multiple occasions about the activities and progress of this group.
In June 2017 RIP and others convened a summit in New York to study the impact of medical debt forgiveness.
In December 2016 a Q&A addressed questions about the non-profit, how it works, where the money comes from, how it addresses HIPAA requirements, and more.
The group first made big headlines in June 2016 when it became associated with an episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on HBO when the host dedicated the entire show to the debt-buying industry. He famously claimed his show was “giving away” $15 million, double the value of the infamous Oprah Winfrey car giveaway, making it the largest television giveaway in history. What he actually did was buy a portfolio of medical debt for about $60,000, and then gave it to RIP so they could properly forgive it without tax consequences to the patients.