GoFundMe/Other Donations for Medical Bills: How Do You Feel?

How do you feel about contributing via GoFundMe or other donations for medical bills?

I am much more positive about helping people with major medical problems pay for living expenses than medical bills and with respect to medical bills only where they cut you off if you don’t pay–like drug stores. Doctors and hospitals charge excessive prices and can afford to write off bills for the less fortunate.

Sad that we live in a country where this is even a thing.

“Please help me pay for potentially life-saving care for my child\spouse\whoever” would seem to me to be EXACTLY what GoFundMe and the like are for.

I wish people didn’t have to do this, but until this country decides to ensure that reasonable and affordable health insurance is a priority, it will remain so.

I think it is terrible that when someone is in pain and distress they have to worry about how to pay for treatment.

America really needs health reform.

Here in the UK, I recently had both a scare for bowel cancer (obviously urgent testing needed, but fortunately I was eventually cleared), plus real gallstones.
Over the past two months I’ve had:

  • one ambulance trip
  • three MRIs
  • one ultrasound
  • cameras up both front and back (if you see what I mean)
  • many blood and urine tests
  • two stays in hospital (4 days each time)
  • a five hour operation to remove the gallstones and the gall bladder

Since our National Health Service is funded by taxes (I’d paid my share over the past 40 years) the total cost to me of the above = zero.

I estimate the cost in the US would have been at least $30,000.
Imagine having to find that sort of cash and worry about cancer…

It’s more complex than that. If you have no insurance, it’d probably be MUCH more than that, or you wouldn’t have even qualified for a lot of the care. Doubtful “3 MRIs” would have happened, for example, with no insurance.

On the other hand, if you have decent insurance, it’d be nowhere near that. As a white-collar professional worker, my health care costs (premiums & yearly deductible) is capped at about $3K/year. I could have millions of $$ in costs, but I’d never pay more than that.

Glad that I live in a country where this is not a thing.

I considered it, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask for money from others. Partially because I couldn’t imagine anyone giving me anything anyway.

Surviving cancer set me back at least $10k-$12k. Most went on a credit card.
It would have been more but I hit my copay maximum in two different years. I could have been more still if I had stopped working and gone on disability. (A billing error stopped treatment right when I was at my breaking point and I didn’t resume.)

How do I feel about it? Horrified pretty much covers it.

I’m another UK resident, I’ve had surgery I wouldn’t possibly have been able to afford on the NHS, and it helped me get back from being unemployed and practically bedridden to working full time. No worrying about paying for the scans, surgery, overnight stay, they even gave me a new toothbrush free, just worry about getting better.

That said, there’s a kid locally whose parents are trying to fundraise for surgery for their kid who currently can’t walk. The surgery would give him a good chance of being able to, but is novel and rare enough that globally only one surgical team, in the US, is currently doing it, the NHS can’t treat him in house, and can’t justify spending the huge sum to send him to the US for what is not lifesaving treatment, so his parents are trying to fund it. That’s what medical fundraising is here, it does exist, but only for experimental treatment or extremely rare conditions, and generally non-life threatening ones at that.

I feel it is absolutely pathetic that we should be reduced to begging when every other civilized country on Earth has already solved this problem.

I also feel completely baffled as to why Americans continue to put up with this shit.

My wife needed a stem cell transplant. Insurance wouldn’t pay for it. We didn’t have $90,000. She’s dead now.

Your estimate is quite low.

I wish I did too.

I may move to latin America in my 50s to escape our countries evil health care system.

The ambulance trip is probably $2000. Each MRI might be 5k.

You really underestimate how much our health care system costs. What you describe will probably be closer to $200,000.

I knew someone (a not so close friend) who did this, asking for help with about $75K of medical bills. I couldn’t help much, but gave a couple hundred dollars to show support. A couple of months go by, and this friend is seemingly doing better, posting photos of their new truck on Facebook. I go back to go fund me site, and sure enough the page asking for donations is still up. I posted that it was poor form to show off the new truck while you were begging for money.

So I’ll agree that it sucks that some unfortunate people have to resort to this, but I won’t be helping anytime soon.

If it’s for PRIOR medical bills for a condition that is not ongoing and/or life-saving treatment will not be cut off, it seems rather pointless to attempt to pay some huge inflated 5-7 figure amount. At that point, living expenses are much more important. If it’s to raise money for a necessary procedure that requires big cash to even get access, then I understand that.

At the same time, however, people chipping in to help pay for others medical care is exactly how the Right wants it. They believe that charity, not the Government, should provide for those who don’t have insurance and/or can’t pay.

IMO, that’s a bass-ackwards way to provide healthcare. To me, charity should be for unforeseen circumstances i.e sending $$$ to the Red Cross after a major earthquake or hurricane. I don’t believe it should go toward expenses that are not surprises and hence should have been be budgeted and planned for i.e. a national healthcare plan that provides for everyone. You know, like the civilized coun… blablabla… you know the rest, sigh.

Serious question: What is your tax rate?

Best to look at the overall picture than deal with an indvidual.
Here is a good breakdownfor some key countries (all with UHC as far as I know) compared to the USA.

Certainly compared to the UK the USA does not noticeably tax citizens at a far lower rate and of course within that tax take the UK funds healthcare for all. You’ll see other countries in that article that are less than the USA and still fund healthcare for all.

Certainly the tax-take in the USA is not astonishingly low and certainly not for the low and mid-earners (which of course are the people that suffer from having to afford decent health cover and the additional yearly costs that brings)

When you look at the general picture you see that, as a proportion of GDP, (sixth chart down) the USA spends a higher proportion of theirs on public healthcare than the comparable country average. Of course that public healthcare is not accessible to all whereas in the comparable country it is.

As others have noted, your estimate is low.

Figure around $2000 a day for the hospital stays.

Another $2000 for an ambulance trip.

Around $3000 apiece for MRI’s. Another $500 for the ultrasound.

At least $100 each for those blood and urine tests.

Figure around $15,000 for the actual surgery.

Add it up and run it through a currency converter. Call it around the equivalent of €40,000.

I ask them who they voted for, and if they say “Trump” I tell them they deserve those high bills.