Medical debt is trapping families in poverty – and big banks are cashing in on it. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: All right. Medical debt is trapping families in poverty and big banks, they’re cashing in on it. How many big bank stories do we have to do to where somebody says, Jesus, we need to really rethink of how we’re treating Wall Street? You know, when I was, I gotta tell you, in the, in the maybe sixties or the seventies, banks weren’t, you know, it was, it wasn’t that, was it Gekko. What was the movie that was made, greed is good, you know?

Farron Cousins: Wall Street.

Mike Papantonio: Wall Street. Okay. Before Wall Street you had mom and pop banks. Okay. And then just like everything else you had, you had predators come in and buy all the mom and pop banks and come up with organizations like Wells Fargo, and you name it, Chase Manhattan. And so now we’re at a point to where, I don’t think there’s a way to turn around here, man. This is an ugly story. Why don’t you give, give us the story.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Excuse me. Basically what’s happening here is obviously medical debt is a massive problem here in the United States. Skyrocketing healthcare costs, skyrocketing prescription drugs, surgery costs, whatever it is and people can’t pay it. So the big banks thought, wait a minute, here’s people in debt. How do we capitalize on this? Well, we partner with the hospitals.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: So when you’re recovering from your surgery, the hospital comes up to you with a document and says, hey, uh, this is gonna set you, you back about $80,000. But don’t worry, sign this little piece of paper right here. We’re, we’re partnered with this Allied bank over here, whatever it is.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: You sign this, they’re gonna give you the loan and pay it off and you don’t have to worry. I know you just got a new heart a few hours ago, and we wanna make it as hassle free for you as possible. So they take out these massive loans that do, for the most part, at first, have a lower interest rate than a credit card.

Mike Papantonio: And then every year it turns and it turns and it turns.

Farron Cousins: It just balloons and balloons and balloons. And they’re, they’re screwing these patients over.

Mike Papantonio: Who are the people behind this? Is it, is it coming directly, is it Wall, is it a new Wall Street grab or is it just kind of, just here and there?

Farron Cousins: It’s, it’s both Wall Street because you got a lot of hedge funds in it and just the simple greed of the hospital industry.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And I think people overlook the hospital industry.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: We don’t have, you know, you’ve talked about mom and pop, we don’t have mom and pop banks.

Mike Papantonio: No.

Farron Cousins: We don’t have mom and pop medical centers anymore.

Mike Papantonio: Doctor, doctor owned doctor. Doctor owned hospitals are a thing of the past.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: You know, where they came in and consolidated all that. This is how it lands right here.

Farron Cousins: Yep. And it’s all about the money. It’s not about the care. And the banks said, there’s a lot of money in this. Let’s go get our cut.

Mike Papantonio: Okay.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.