07/06/2016 1:09 AM AEST | Updated 08/06/2016 5:01 AM AEST

John Oliver Makes TV History After Buying $16M Of Your Medical Debt

American households currently owe more than $12 trillion in debt, which has given rise to an entire debt-buying industry. The largest debt-buying entity, Encore Capital Group, claims that 1 in 5 consumers owes, or has owed, them money.

"That means, statistically," John Oliver said in a recent clip from "Last Week Tonight," "one member of Evanescence owes, or has owed, Encore money."

But Oliver didn't want to just shine a light on this issue; he wanted to do something about it.

So he formed his own debt collection group, the Central Asset Recovery Professionals Inc., or CARP.  Oliver then purchased about $15 million in medical debt and forgave all of it on national television, thereby taking the title for largest giveaway in TV history.

Sorry, Oprah.


Correction: We previously stated that the amount of medical debt that Oliver forgave was about $16 million, but the figure was actually around $15 million.