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Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:05 PM

Occupy Debt-Relief Campaign Buys $100,000 Worth of Medical Debt

Source: Raw Story

Occupy debt-relief campaign buys $100,000 worth of debt

By Arturo Garcia
Thursday, November 15, 2012 11:58 EST

Members of a debt relief project borne from the Occupy Wall Street campaign said Wednesday they have purchased more than $100,000 worth of medical debt in a second trial run for their efforts.

Thomas Gokey, a spokesperson for the Rolling Jubilee campaign, said the debt was purchased for $5,000. Earlier this year, the group bought $14,000 worth of debt for $500.

- snip -

A fundraising concert is scheduled to be held Thursday in New York City, with the group seeking to raise $50,000 in order to buy — and wipe out — $1 million worth of medical debt.

Gokey said the group behind the project, Strike Debt, had bought its own 501 c(4) to manage the funds it manages to raise, and that his group was working with unspecified “business insiders,” lawyers and accountants. While the campaign is not targeting individual debtors in its purchases, people who are part of the buys will be notified soon that their obligations have been discharged.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/11/15/occupy-debt-relief-campaign-buys-100000-worth-of-debt

38 replies, 5461 views

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Reply Occupy Debt-Relief Campaign Buys $100,000 Worth of Medical Debt (Original post)
Hissyspit Nov 2012 OP
Lucinda Nov 2012 #1
2on2u Nov 2012 #2
Puzzledtraveller Nov 2012 #5
2on2u Nov 2012 #6
justice1 Nov 2012 #19
PA Democrat Nov 2012 #14
SomeGuyInEagan Nov 2012 #32
Dubster Nov 2012 #3
sdfernando Nov 2012 #4
mahatmakanejeeves Nov 2012 #7
silverweb Nov 2012 #8
AllyCat Nov 2012 #31
silverweb Nov 2012 #33
aquart Nov 2012 #9
SalviaBlue Nov 2012 #10
TheAmbivalante Nov 2012 #11
Poll_Blind Nov 2012 #12
sheshe2 Nov 2012 #20
myrna minx Nov 2012 #13
StrayKat Nov 2012 #15
liberalhistorian Nov 2012 #16
AllyCat Nov 2012 #30
kag Nov 2012 #17
StrayKat Nov 2012 #21
Bibliovore Nov 2012 #22
StrayKat Nov 2012 #23
Bibliovore Nov 2012 #25
StrayKat Nov 2012 #34
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #18
Kaleva Nov 2012 #24
joanbarnes Nov 2012 #26
jerseyjack Nov 2012 #27
AllyCat Nov 2012 #29
AllyCat Nov 2012 #28
Aquariuswolfe Nov 2012 #35
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #36
Agony Nov 2012 #37
happyslug Nov 2012 #38

Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:15 PM

1. Bookmarking for later. Thanks!

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:21 PM

2. I wonder how they can afford to sell off the debt for such a fraction.... then I think about a

 

hospital charging 140$ for a tylenol, or 1000$ for a toothbrush and it all makes sense.

http://am.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/01/health-care-prescription-for-waste-1000-toothbrush/
Health care – Prescription for waste: $1000 toothbrush

Editor's Note: All this week, in the American Morning original series "Health care – Prescription for waste," we're examining more waste in the health care system – and this time it could involve your money. Today, a medical billing advocate shows our Elizabeth Cohen some of the wasteful charges she's seen in bills. And tomorrow on American Morning, we go shopping for health care to show you how you can save hundreds when it comes to your own medical bills.

(CNN) – Imagine someone spending a thousand bucks for a toothbrush. It might be amusing – if it wasn't your money. Consider this: for every dollar we spend on health care, fifty cents is wasted.

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:46 PM

5. I've commented before that hospitals in general

have been left mostly unscathed when it comes to the scrutiny of the healthcare industries. In my city there are 3 major entities that own 99% of the healthcare access, hospitals, urgent care and specialty groups and doctors. All three have roots as non profit entities from days when they were completely financed by charitable donations before there was such a thing as "health insurance" as we know it. So why do they charge so much for a tylenol? It's collusion, complicit highway robbery along with the insurance industry.

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Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:51 PM

6. Getting tin, paying for platinum, makes sense to me. n/t

 

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Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 05:29 PM

19. They also took advantage of companies like GM, but the workers took all the blame.

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:25 PM

14. Also people without insurance

(or those whose insurance company refuses to pay for a "preexisting condition") will get billed the full price rather than the discounted fee negotiated by the insurance company. The difference can be significant.

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:59 AM

32. It is written off by primary creditor, resold at a fraction to secondary credit market.

The primary creditor can then charge it against their books as an unpaid debt - common business practice. It's off their books.

Then the secondary creditor goes after the debt. As they paid a fraction of the amount owed, they will try for the whole thing but are willing to negotiate.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:21 PM

3. Spam deleted by gkhouston (MIR Team)

 

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:29 PM

4. This is truly amazing to see

I wasn't sure they would be able to get this off the ground but looks like they are make it happen. Totally AWESOME!

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:52 PM

7. This is their killer app.

.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:53 PM

8. I intend to donate.

http://occupywallst.org/about/

Now that the political campaigns are over (for the moment), what used to go to those can now go to Occupy and other worthy causes.

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Response to silverweb (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:49 AM

31. That's what I'm doing. The money I donated each month to political

campaigns is now going to these folks and my local food bank.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #31)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 02:09 AM

33. ^5

So many worthy causes to choose from, but OWS is right up there, in my book, with the best of them.



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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:50 PM

9. Wow.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:00 PM

10. I absolutely love this!!

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:16 PM

11. Giddy!

I am positively giddy about a group of the good guys using a financial instrument of the bad guys for, dare I say, good.

WAY TO GO, OCCUPY!

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:22 PM

12. My god, that is brilliant. That's really brilliant. nt

PB

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Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 05:32 PM

20. +1000

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:25 PM

13. Wonderful!

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:32 PM

15. I'm probaby missing something.

Is there a reason that they are forgiving the debt completely instead of asking the indebted to pay the reduced rate, e.g. if they bought $14,000 for $500 couldn't they renegotiate the debt for $500 - $600 instead of completely erasing it? Wouldn't this still be a huge relief to people with overwhelming debt and allow the project to recoup funds that could be used to extend the same debt relief to others?

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Response to StrayKat (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:40 PM

16. Because they're trying to give desperate

people a fresh start? Because they actually have a heart and are thinking of people first and not money? Because many people simply cannot afford to pay their medical debt, especially if they have an expensive chronic or serious/life-threatening illness? Because, unlike many other forms of debt, medical debt is unwillingly incurred and punishes people for having the gall to get sick or injured when they have either the wrong insurance company (i.e., one that wants to take premium money but finds all kinds of ways not to pay legitimate claims) or not enough money for it (which is most people, considering just how expensive even simple care is now)? Because theyre already paying enough to stay alive and simply have no more to give?

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Response to liberalhistorian (Reply #16)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:48 AM

30. "Because they actually have a heart and are thinking of people first and not money?"

Yeah, that! I tell people about this program and even progressives will say "gosh, how do they get their money back?" Who the frack cares??? The dang credit complex doesn't get to keep shuffling the debt around so they all make money except the person who is in trouble.

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Response to StrayKat (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:45 PM

17. I believe the idea...

is that they do ask those who are helped to pay a little bit forward to help others. Thus the "rolling" part of the jubilee. I forget where I read that, though.

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Response to kag (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 06:00 PM

21. Thanks, Kag

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Response to StrayKat (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 07:14 PM

22. In addition to what everyone above this has already said, consider administrative costs

Last edited Thu Nov 15, 2012, 08:10 PM - Edit history (1)

Debt bought and wholly forgiven is over and done, with no need for further tracking except for tax reporting. Debt bought and renegotiated, however, requires ongoing correspondence and record-keeping and accounting and quite possibly legal work until the chosen amount is repaid. If a debtor really didn't have even the renegotiated amount, would some kind of proof be needed (more tracking and record-keeping) before writing off that last bit? If someone agreed to pay a lowered amount, what would happen if they then didn't pay it?

It seems a lot simpler all around to forgive the debt, then encourage those who benefit from this to give what they can toward reducing the debt of others. Someone who couldn't afford $14,000 might be able to give $1000 (or more) to the cause over time instead of just $500, and their friends and family might be moved to donate, too.

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Response to Bibliovore (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 07:34 PM

23. Restoring Credit

What about reporting to credit agencies? Isn't it better for restoring people's credit to be able to report that they've paid off a loan rather than had it completely forgiven?

There's paperwork involved no matter how this is handled.

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Response to StrayKat (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 08:05 PM

25. Yes, always paperwork (but see questions below)

But notifying the credit agencies would need to take place regardless, right? Writing the debt off would still prevent other/ongoing tracking.

Also, I know nothing about this, so a few questions about the debt-reporting process:

1) Is there a score difference for complete vs. partial vs. very low payoff amounts? If a large debt is renegotiated to a penny that's then collected, does that appear the same as if the original debt amount were paid in full? Does the remainder count as forgiven regardless?

2) How much discretion does the debt purchaser have in how to classify the handling of a debt? If they're writing off the debt, could they choose to report it as repaid (rather than forgiven) even if no money changes hands?

3) (possible Devil's advocate): Is there reason for concern about the resulting credit report's accuracy? That is, is it a possible problem for future lenders if borrowers' accounts show debt as paid off that they could not in fact afford? Is this affected by what the debt is for, e.g. health care vs. mortgage vs. credit-card bills?

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Response to Bibliovore (Reply #25)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 06:38 PM

34. I don't know.

This isn't an area I'm very familiar with. My understanding is that is better to have a record of making more payments than less or none.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 05:09 PM

18. K&R Cooperation over coercion, what a great idea! n/t

 

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 07:58 PM

24. Rec'd

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 08:48 PM

26. This is so beautiful. I wonder how the greed machine will try to stop them.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:20 PM

27. In either case, payoff to Occupy with debt write-off

 

or paying the discounted amount, the debt will remain on credit bureau records for three years until the last activity.

If judgement, I believe 7 years, bankruptcy, 10 years.

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Response to jerseyjack (Reply #27)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:42 AM

29. having something on your credit that is paid is a huge boon compared

to having it unpaid. It allows those involved to start to make things better.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:41 AM

28. I donated some money to these fine Americans earlier this week.

Not much, but I will give them what I can for this amazing project. I've been reading about it all over the internet and talking it up to people I work with! Even if you have $5, that wipes out about $150 in debt.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #28)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:42 PM

35. Donating

AllyCat...

Where do I go to donate to this awesome program?

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Response to Aquariuswolfe (Reply #35)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:02 PM

36. Welcome to DU!

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Response to Aquariuswolfe (Reply #35)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:20 PM

37. http://rollingjubilee.org http://strikedebt.org

Rolling Jubilee

A bailout of the people by the people
Rolling Jubilee is a Strike Debt project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it. Together we can liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal. Debt resistance is just the beginning. Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits.

Learn more or contribute.

StrikeDebt
As individuals, families, and communities, most of us are drowning in debt to Wall Street for the basic things things we need to live, like housing, education, and health care. Even those of us who do not have personal debt are affected by predatory lending. Our essential public services are cut because our cities and towns are held hostage by the same big banks that have been bailed out by our government in recent years.

We are not a loan. Strike Debt came from a coalition of Occupy groups looking to build popular resistance to all forms of debt imposed on us by the banks. Debt keeps us isolated, ashamed, and afraid. We are building a movement to challenge this system while creating alternatives and supporting each other. We want an economy where our debts are to our friends, families, and communities — and not to the 1%.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:39 PM

38. I thought OWS did not want to support Wall Street?

The first question is how has to pay this debt? Being a Medical debt, it is dis-chargeable in bankruptcy and under the Federal Exemptions under Bankruptcy Law, if your equity in your home is less $25,000 (and in some circumstances $42,000), if you keep the payments up on the home, you can keep your home. There is also a $2000 equity in one car and $10,000 in any other item (which can be added to the $25,000).

In simple terms, unless you own your home WITHOUT a Mortgage and it is worth more then $25,000, any hospital bill can be discharged through bankruptcy (along with any other debts, including Credit card debt, but NOT student loans, support payments or anything to do with drunk driving or a felony).

In harsh terms, OWS just bought $14,000 of debts that are WORTHLESS for $500. i.e paid $500 for nothing. Another way to look at this, they paid $500 to WALL STREET and received nothing in return,

I am sorry, OWS would be better off giving this money to people who can help people in financial need. Legal Services budget has been cut, I had two more people in my office who are being sued by buyers of such papers, but they are Judgment proof, i.e. if given proper legal advice, will NOT have to pay anything to anyone. I have people with more assists that I have to turn down due to financial constraints, people who I believe will prevail in any lawsuit if someone will prepare the paperwork.
Then I see people buying paper that is probably worthless, giving money to the holders of the paper who normally would have to eat it.

Remember a lot of this paper is against people on Social Security (Which can NOT be attached), on Child Support (which in most states can not be attached), or have property less then the exemption amount from Sheriff''s sale in their home states (i.e. Judgment proof). These people do NOT need people "Buying" this paper, they need advice on how to handle people who are trying to collect on these papers.

I am sorry, OWS would be better off giving this money to Legal Services or some other group to give legal advice to people subject to these debts then to buy the debts off.

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