Occupy offshoot forgives $1 million in random people's debt

  @blakeellis3 March 15, 2013: 3:40 PM ET
strike debt initiative 4

Occupy Wall Street offshoot, Strike Debt, is buying people's emergency room debts for pennies on the dollar and forgiving them.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Occupy Wall Street offshoot, Strike Debt, announced Friday that it has abolished $1.1 million in medical debt for more than 1,000 people.

The protest group did this by buying emergency room debts for pennies on the dollar and then simply forgiving them rather than trying to collect the money, Strike Debt said in a statement.

When a bank, lender or other company, like a hospital, is unable to collect on a debt, it typically sells it to debt buyers or collectors -- often at a much lower price than the original amount owed since the odds of collecting the money are low. Whoever buys the debt then attempts to get the money from the debtor.

Related: Debt collection horror stories

Citing the large number of bankruptcies that stem from medical bills, Strike Debt's mission is to stop this collection cycle and abolish the debt altogether.

How your health care will change in 2013

"Our privatized health care system buries ordinary people in debt all to enrich the 1%," the group said.

The more than $1 million in debt the group eliminated belonged to 1,064 people, amounting to an average of about $900 in debt per person. These randomly-selected people will receive notices explaining that their debt has been forgiven.

The organization spent about $21,000 to purchase the debt, using money raised from supporters.

Related: What business can learn from Occupy Wall Street

To rally the troops around its debt-busting initiative, Occupy's Strike Debt is planning protests later this month against private insurance companies and other events to raise awareness about hospital closings due to excessive amounts of debt.

Strike Debt originally launched its campaign and fundraising efforts in November, abolishing more than $100,000 in consumer debt before the end of 2012. To top of page



Join the Conversation
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.36%4.24%
15 yr fixed3.39%3.26%
5/1 ARM3.36%3.27%
30 yr refi4.34%4.22%
15 yr refi3.38%3.24%
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
CNNMoney Sponsors
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.