Buying and selling debt has become a big business in the U.S. The FTC found that debt buyers typically purchase portfolios of debt for only four cents on the dollar, on average, and then collect on those debts for the full face value -- which nets them a huge profit.
A coalition of Occupy groups called StrikeDebt is encouraging people to combat debt by way of popular resistance... up to and including complete default. Occupy hasn't left its "radical" roots, but has evolved as a voice on the subject of banking and finance.
What does it say about us as a nation where patients waiting in an emergency room or lying in (or near) recovery rooms after surgery can be confronted by a special "relative" or friend at their bedside? It's your friendly medical debt collector, holding an invoice.
If there is one thing that most Americans might agree upon it is that the debt collection industry and the work it performs ranks in status somewhere below that of a Wall Street Banker and slightly above that of a U.S. Congressman.