The Evolution of RIP Medical Debt
A short press tour
Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton have both “grown up” in the debt collections industry, but they have been out of lockstep with industry thinking. Jerry has been vocal.
Debt Collectors Cashing In on Student Loans
(Published Sept 8, 2012)
“Borrowers are most often declared in default when they cannot be found. That is when the collection agencies take over. While some in the industry, like Mr. Ashton, worry about public revolt over aggressive collection tactics, there is no holding back [the agencies] at this point.”
The idea for RIP Medical Debt spring from the Rolling Jubilee of Occupy Wall Street.
Debt Buyers May See Competition from Occupy Wall Street
(Published November 9, 2012)
Organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement this week announced that they are targeting consumer debt using an interesting tactic: they’re going to become debt buyers. But instead of collecting on the accounts, the buyers will simply forgive the debt, leaving consumers a zero balance.
InsideARM is the foremost daily trade publication for
the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry.
Inspired by the OWS Rolling Jubilee, and now a blogger at The Huffington Post, Jerry shares his thoughts with a growing audience.
Jerry Ashton’s blog
Reflecting on Rescuing Stranded Starfish and Abolishing Medical Debt
What was it like to open up a letter announcing that the burden of a large medical debt had been taken away?
“I was dumbfounded,” replies Terrance Lavalle, referring to a letter he received in November from Occupy Wall Street’s working group, “the Rolling Jubilee.”
Not to mention a bit dubious.
With the Rolling Jubilee and others focusing on forgiveness for unpayable student loan debt, Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton in 2014 start a nonprofit social enterprise for abolishing medical debt. They create an IRS-recognized charity, so there are no adverse tax consequences for the people whose debts are forgiven.
These Former Debt Collectors Decided to Ditch the Industry, Buy Up Medical Debt, and Forgive It
(Published Aug 17, 2015)
Jerry Ashton and Craig Antico
Jerry Ashton and Craig Antico spent decades hounding debtors to pay their bills—until an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street inspired them to find a way to pay struggling people’s debts.
When Paola Gonzalez received a phone call from RIP Medical Debt, she was certain what she heard was a mistake. A prank, maybe. The caller said a $950 hospital bill had been paid for in full: It would not affect her credit and she wouldn’t have to worry about it again. “They wanted to pay a bill for me,” she said. “I was just speechless.”
RIP Medical Debt starts gaining attention. A New York TV station runs a news story.
A Phone Call That Can Actually Get You OUT Of Debt
(Aired July 17, 2015)
No one wants to get that call from a bill collector looking for money. It can be frightening and intimidating.
But now, CBS2’s Alice Gainer introduces us to collectors who are calling to get you out of debt, helping unsuspecting recipients to be debt free.
You hear the phone in the background and you dont want to pick it up cause you know its a bill collector. Paola Gonzalez knows those calls well. She owes more than $30,000 in medical bills. It’s a debt that she says he affected her entire family.
RIP moves into abolishing the medical debt of veterans.
Jerry Ashton Post
Unknown and Unspoken – Veterans’ Unpaid Medical Debt
(Published Feb 10, 2016)
Few Americans understand, or are even aware of, the plight of the U.S. active duty or former service men and women who struggle with unpaid – and unpayable – medical debt.
Contrary to general belief, our veterans are not given free VA hospital and medical attention as a reward for their service. There are qualifications attached. Although anyone who has served in the military likely qualifies to seek medical help and receive medication, there are hurdles to leap and they may be liable for a copayment.
Meanwhile, Jerry Ashton teams up in with a health care administrator, Robert Goff, then CEO of the New York-based University Physicians Network, to co-author a book, The Patient, The Doctor and the Bill Collector, published by Hoku House in Hawaii.
Jerry Ashton’s blog
Birthing a Book and Launching a Charity
(Published Feb 10, 2016)
When Robert E. Goff and I decided to co-author a book employing our collective knowledge of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the medical and debt collections industries to expose their inequities and shortfalls, we had no idea of the amount of work – and by that, I mean teamwork – that would be required.
At the start we only shared the quality other would-be authors have in abundance — passion.
In summer 2016, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver asks RIP Medical Debt to forgive almost $15 million in a medical debt portfolio purchased for about $60,000 by LWT’s dummy company, CARP, to show how easily anyone can buy out-to-statue debt and collect on it. The show sets a new record for TV giveaways.
Episode 73, The “Debt Buyers” Segment
(Sunday, June 5, 2106)
The above clip is gratefully posted at RIPmedicaldebt.org with special permission from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which owns all rights, so please contact the HBO producers directly for rights and permissions.