Health

Sick Americans Turn to Websites to 'Crowd Fund' Money for Health Care

| by Michael Allen

While the Republican Party and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney continue to insist that America has the finest heath care system in the world, more desperate and ill Americans are turning to the web to pay medical bills, hoping that strangers will help them out.

NPR says that Americans are using crowd funding sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe to pay medical bills. The sites were were originally built to fund creative projects, not basic human needs, but have been augmented to fulfill medical causes.

NPR reports:

One site that’s capitalized on personal-cause crowd funding is GoFundMe. CEO Brad Damphousse says in 2012 alone, the site’s users have raised more than $6 million for medical causes, and Medical, Illness & Healing is the site’s most popular category, attracting 17 percent of the site’s total donations.

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In exchange for help with creating a donation Web page and making it easy to share it on social media, GoFundMe takes a 5 percent cut from all money raised. GiveForward and YouCaring are two other sites in the business of medical crowd funding (GiveForward charges a 7 percent fee on money raised), and they also attract millions in donations.

Some GoFundMe campaigns in the medical category range from modest requests for $1,000 to cover gas cards for parents to visit their baby son in the NICU, to ambitious goals to raise $200,000 for a medical trust fund (for one of the survivors of the Aurora theater shootings).