While health insurance or government programs like Medicaid and Medicare can shield against huge medical bills, massive debt and even bankruptcy, only the truly wealthy can feel secure that sickness won’t lead to financial ruin.
This is why thousands of Americans have turned to crowdfunding website GoFundMe in the last decade to help cover medical bills and related costs. HuffPost is profiling some of those people, and what their stories reveal about the shortcomings of the American healthcare system.
These are not feel-good stories.
That’s often how the news media cover these fundraisers ― focusing on the generosity of individuals giving rather than the systemic failures that created the need. While it’s hard not to be inspired by successful campaigns and the fortitude of those suffering through terrifying ordeals, such stories portray a chilling reality that Americans ― even those with good jobs and health insurance, can be one bad day away from financial ruin.
A serious disease can put financial strain on people even in countries with universal healthcare systems and strong safety nets. But the United States, which has neither of those things, leaves its residents uniquely vulnerable.