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“The Mystery Hour” host Jeff Houghton, right, interviews RIP Medical Debt co-founder Craig Antico in November.
Photo provided by Jeff Houghton
“The Mystery Hour” host Jeff Houghton, right, interviews RIP Medical Debt co-founder Craig Antico in November.

‘Mystery Hour’ medical debt fundraiser hits goal

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Springfield late-night talk show “The Mystery Hour” and nonprofit RIP Medical Debt have the funds in place to erase $2.7 million worth of medical debt in the Ozarks.

The campaign — dubbed The Great Ozarks Forgive-a-Thon — runs during the month of December. It hit its $27,000 fundraising goal on Dec. 24.

“We are just amazed, but not surprised, by the community coming together like this. The impact will be profound for the recipients,” said Jeff Houghton, the host of “The Mystery Hour,” via email. “We're a TV show, not a nonprofit, so we went into this fairly blindly — we just thought we could get the word out. For the community to respond the way they did is incredible.”

Houghton said RIP Medical Debt will immediately move to buy and forgive the debt after the campaign ends tomorrow.

As of 11:58 a.m., the campaign’s tally was $27,309.

RIP Medical Debt buys bundles of medical debt, on average, for a penny on the dollar. The $27,000 in local donations is expected to eliminate $2.7 million worth of debt in Greene County and 19 others in the Ozarks, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.

An episode of “The Mystery Hour” featuring an interview with RIP Medical Debt co-founder Craig Antico was taped in November and aired earlier this month.

RIP Medical Debt has been featured by the likes of late-night television host John Oliver. The organization works to forgive medical debt for people who earn less than two times the federal poverty level, have debts that are 5% or more of their annual income or are facing insolvency, according to a news release.

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