ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) You have probably seen the pleas on social media from a friend, co-worker or stranger needing help paying their medical bills. You may have even started one of those fundraisers for yourself or someone else in your family.
According to a survey from NORC at the University of Chicago, one in five Americans said they or someone in their household have contributed to a crowdfunding campaign to pay for medical bills for a friend, co-worker, relative or stranger. The same survey asked people who they think should be footing the bill when medical care is unaffordable. Most said the government or hospitals and clinics.
One of the most popular crowdfunding sites is GoFundMe. They said that “Medical” is the top category globally for fundraising on the site. A spokesperson for the website said that while they are glad to be able to help people the fact that so many people need help covering their medical expenses highlights a bigger problem. “Despite the progress made with the Affordable Care Act, there are ever-widening gaps in coverage for treatment, prescriptions, and related health care costs, even for patients with insurance,” a statement said. “GoFundMe aims to be a resource for anyone who finds themselves needing help because there is not adequate assistance. These needs can range from lost income and transportation costs to research.”
A statement from the website went on to say that “while GoFundMe can provide timely, critical help to people facing health care crisis, we do not aim to be a substitute social safety net. A crowdfunding platform can not and should not be a solution to complex, systemic problems that must be solved with meaningful public policy. We believe that affordable access to comprehensive health care is a right, and action must be taken at the local, state, and federal levels of government to make this a reality for all Americans. But in the meantime, we will continue to work hard to provide a place where Americans can help one another during times of need.”