Pensacola High School students Samir Boussarhane and Falen McClellan were not satisfied with volunteering at a local animal shelter or hospital to meet their school’s requirement for public service as part of an International Baccalaureate Degree program (IBD). They wanted more of a challenge.

Motivated by a Last Week Tonight with John Oliver show, in which the host purchased and abolished almost $15 million in medical debt, the pair last fall decided to emulate his efforts in the Pensacola/Mobile area.

Their goal: raise enough money to buy and abolish $3 million in medical debt in their section of Florida and Alabama. Not so easy, as this would require raising some $30,000 in donations.

NBC News

Former medical debt collectors using expertise to help the neediest patients

Craig Antico co-founded RIP Medical Debt, a non-profit that buys up batches of overdue medical bills, erasing $120 million in debt for 60,000 patients so far.

A Review of 2017 at RIP Medical Debt

The year 2017 has been a busy one for RIP Medical Debt and – with your financial help – 2018 is destined to be even busier and more impactful. Here’s our year-end review and our vision moving forward.

RIP received national attention when we were featured on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Show on June 16, 2016. The “John Oliver Effect” – as we like to call it – continued to reverberate through 2017 and provided RIP with wonderful opportunities to continue our work of helping eliminate medical debt for struggling Americans.

I will elaborate on that below as I invite you to view the John Oliver film clip once again and consider a stronger role in partnering with RIP and including as as part of your charitable giving.

Healthtech Startup ‘Better’ Aims to Outdo John Oliver by Forgiving $16 Million in Medical Debt

Better, the healthtech startup that helps people get money back from their health insurance, announced today that it intends to beat John Oliver’s highly-public gift last summer of donating to RIP Medical Debt almost $15 million in unpaid medical debt for about 9,000 families in Texas.

Better promises to up the ante by forgiving one million dollars more in medical than Oliver, doing so over a longer period of time and in more states.

“We at Better are committed toward being effective advocates for patients,” said CEO Rachael Norman. “We believe in this so strongly that we are spending our initial revenues as a startup not on ads or on marketing,  but on buying $16 million worth of medical debt.

University Researchers Launch Economic Impact Study of Medical Debt Forgiveness

As Congress works on new health care law that may increase Americans’ medical bills, researchers begin studying the economic impact of forgiving medical debt.

NEW YORK, June 22, 2017 — University researchers and others planning the nation’s first economic impact study of medical debt forgiveness met today in New York  for an historic “mini-summit,” coincidentally held the same day as GOP senators in Washington unveiled a new health care bill.

SAINT PAUL: June 19, 2017 — RIP Medical Debt and the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) today announced forgiveness of $2.6 million in medical debt. Minnesota Nurses chose to abolish local medical debt  as a gesture of thanks for community support of nurses in a four-week strike, which began a year ago today.

At a press conference this morning, Minnesota Nurses marked the occasion by cutting in half a blowup of the debt-buying contract.

NBC Connecticut

Local Relief for Medical Debt: NBC Connecticut Responds

Andrea Gaskins, of Middletown, nearly hit rock bottom while dealing with mounting medical bills and threatening calls from debt collectors and she is not alone.

Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States, according to data from credit agencies and the federal government. Roughly, 43 million people are struggling with unpaid medical bills and the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, parent of NBC Connecticut, is making a donation to a nonprofit to forgive $1 million in Connecticut medical debt.

NBC 5

Family Struggling With Medical Debt Gets New Home, Thanks to Viewers

Imagine having a child who has battled cancer twice, fighting to keep your kid alive while facing thousands of dollars in medical debt. It’s a struggle one Burleson family knows all too well. But people in North Texas refused to let them fight it alone.