This report is part of an ongoing effort by a group of health care practitioners, lawyers, researchers, and activists to expose the disastrous impact of medical debta and for-profit health care on families and individuals in the United States. Private health care enriches a few—insurance companies, private equity firms, pharmaceutical companies, debt collectors, and global investors—at the expense of everyone else. Medical debt is a weapon of the class war because when patients cannot afford medical care, they are forced into debt, often with far-ranging and catastrophic consequences. As the rate of uninsured has grown, local governments have looked to state subsidies for private health insurance as a band-aid solution. Massachusetts has implemented such a program, and the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act has expanded this initiative on a national scale. Unfortunately, the ACA will not solve the problem because its primary goal is to expand the market-based system that has already proved to be a miserable failure. Insurance companies profit by denying coverage. As costs rise and benefits shrink, patients will continue to pay the price. We are in a major health care crisis, the consequences of which will be felt for decades to come. The only real solutions are: a grassroots social movement to demand universal health care, an end to the scourge of medical debt, and a national conversation on the meaning of health and wellness.
The Rolling Jubilee
We buy debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, we abolish it. We cannot buy specific individuals' debt—instead, we help liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal.
We kicked off this effort on November 15 with The People's Bailout, a variety show and telethon in NYC. All proceeds will go directly to buying people's debt and cancelling it.