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John Oliver puts medical debt on TV

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John Oliver, the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” made some amazing discoveries about the U.S. medical debt collection system recently when his show produced a segment on that topic.

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A team at the show paid $50 to register a debt-acquisition firm in Mississippi.

The team was then able to buy a portfolio of $15 million in delinquent medical debt for about $60,000, or just 40 cents per $100 in debt. The team forgave the debt.

All of the medical debt was so old the holder no longer had any legal right to collect on the debts, according to Oliver’s team. But the debt portfolio came with a bonus: the addresses and Social Security numbers of 9,000 debtors. The deal price amounted to an average of less than $7 per patient Social Security number.