When Brad Damphousse and Andy Ballester launched GoFundMe May 10, 2010, they didn’t expected that it would become a haven for people seeking money to pay their medical bills. It was thought the site would be a big hit among artists, or even those looking for monetary support to fund their honeymoons or weddings. Yet, years after its inception, more than one-third of all the campaigns on the crowdfunding site have to do with people looking for money to cover their medical bills.
For Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe since 2105, this fact lays bare the big loopholes in the U.S. healthcare system, which forces people to look for crowdfunding avenues due to the lack of any state support. He recently said that the success of the site when it comes to healthcare campaigns is a testament to how utterly broken the country’s healthcare system is, according to Trofire.
Speaking to Kaiser Health News earlier this year, Solomon said that unless the American government and people didn’t quickly understand that healthcare support must be a protected right, he could only see the situation getting worse. With the rising costs of medicines and hospitals, Solomon said that the U.S. healthcare system would need a “gigantic renaissance” if things are to improve.
“A lot of insurance doesn’t cover clinical trials and research and things like that, where people need access to leading-edge potential treatments. We strive to fill these gaps until the institutions that are supposed to handle this handle it properly,” Solomon, 51, said.
“There has to be a renaissance, a dramatic change in public policy, in how the government focuses on this and how the health care companies solve this.”
Taking his cue from Solomon’s remarks on the U.S. healthcare system, Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins said that people were only turning to crowd-funding sites like GoFundMe in desperation. Cousins expects the situation to get worse.
“We’re one step away basically from having people have to sit on street corners with cardboard signs and a hat saying, please give what you can,” Cousins said.
Setting up a GoFundMe page has also become a go-to way for people in need of help to pay their doctors and other health providers. https://t.co/dNoM6oHhAO— All Things Considered (@npratc) December 28, 2018
Cousins went on to claim it would be okay if the United States couldn’t guarantee healthcare in the event of it being poor, but not being able to do so despite being the richest country on earth was appalling. Cousins questioned the fact that when the Pentagon gets nearly $750 billion every year, why can’t common Americans have the security of their government taking care of their medical needs. He suggested that the broken U.S. healthcare system showed how capitalism had utterly failed to protect Americans.
“The only option, the only option is for a government-run program that covers every single American citizen and is able to negotiate drug prices, hospital prices, doctor, prices and surgery prices. Short of those fixes, things are going to get much, much worse in this country,” Cousins added.
Editor’s Note: This story previously misattributed quotes to Rob Solomon, who is the CEO, not the founder of Go Fund Me.