Summary of The Real Peril Of Crowdfunding Health Care

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Health care costs are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Burdened with a health crisis and a pile of medical bills, some Americans resort to online crowdfunding – a method of raising money by asking a large number of people to make small donations. But as social media expert and culture writer Anne Helen Petersen explains, allowing philanthropically inclined donors to decide who gets help and who doesn’t isn’t a viable way to help the most vulnerable people in society. getAbstract recommends Petersen’s thought-provoking article to policy makers, philanthropists and social justice advocates. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why crowdfunding favors certain people over others,
  • Why digital skills and a strong social network are prerequisites for a successful crowdfunding campaign, and
  • How crowdfunding websites fail to address the underlying problems that cause many American bankruptcies in the first place.

About the Author

Anne Helen Petersen is a senior culture writer for BuzzFeed News



Kati McFarland, a 26-year old student with a rare, disabling genetic disorder, was on the verge of losing her home. No longer able to afford her $562 monthly health insurance premium and other health-related expenses, she turned to the crowdfunding website YouCaring with the goal of raising $61,185 to keep herself afloat. Yet she failed to raise more than a few hundred dollars – apparently because her story was not “dramatic enough.” When McFarland asked US senator Tom Cotton at an Arkansas town hall meeting how the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act could affect the coverage of pre-existing conditions, a video of her appearance drew national attention. Donations finally started to pour in – yet she remained tens of thousands of dollars short of being able to sustain her current level of medical care.

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