last night on late night

John Oliver Outdoes Oprah by Forgiving Nearly $15 Million in Medical Debt

Most people in America rack up debts in their lifetime, but unlike the Lannisters, they can’t always pay them. That debt often ends up in the hands of debt collection companies, which do terrible things like threatening debtors’ lives, trying to collect after someone has passed away, and hosting long and boring conventions in Las Vegas. Enter Last Week Tonight, which is here to totally destroy the process of debt collection in an actually pretty real way. As John Oliver reveals at the end of this clip, he and his team spent $50 to incorporate a debt-collection company, dubbed CARP, in Mississippi earlier this year. Soon, he was offered nearly $15 million in out-of-statute medical debt from Texas, at a cost of less than half a cent on the dollar — about $60,000 dollars. Oliver bought that debt and then decided to forgive it, “because it’s the right thing to do,” and because in doing so, he could top the largest one-time giveaway in TV history: Oprah’s $8 million car giveaway. Yeah, Oprah, you sit there with your own television network and decades of influence on American culture, and you think about how small you are right now.

John Oliver Outdoes Oprah, Forgives Medical Debt