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How Successful Are Medical Crowdfunding Campaigns?

Maybe you’ve seen them: a GoFundMe page set up for a friend’s niece who was involved in a car accident or a page to raise funds for a friend after a cancer diagnosis. They are actually far more common than you’ve probably realized.

Bloomberg Magazine recently declared that “Business is Booming” for these medical crowdfunding campaigns, and a study from NerdWallet of the trend reported that $930 million of the $2 billion raised by GoFundMe since 2010 was from medical campaigns.

This all seems like paying it forward, right? Lending a helping hand? NerdWallet also reported that, on average, only 1 in 10 medical or health-care-related campaigns was fully funded, and our next two guests say this friend-to-friend payment system is masking much bigger issues with our country’s health-care system.

Lauren Berliner and Nora Kenworthy are assistant professors at the University of Washington-Bothell, and they released a study of crowdfunding for health issues called “ Producing a worthy illness: Personal crowdfunding amidst financial crisis.”

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.