The grocery store near my old house has a set of jars out collecting change for a young girl with cancer.
GoFundMe has a huge numbers of campaigns for people who need help paying for care.
A Tweep and an occassional beer drinking buddy pointed the limitations of community charity based fundraising for care:
1. GoFundMe generated 100 million out of $3 trillion healthcare spending.
2. This is used by Left to say “Obamacare failed, fuck it.” https://t.co/6nyD08qVMk
— (((r subramanian)))☪ (@randomsubu) January 8, 2017
More importantly, let’s think about what a successful fundraising drive for $20,000 or more needs?
For a successful campaign a few things are needed. First the beneficiary has to be sympathetic to the public. An eight year boy who needs a lung transplant to play baseball is sympathetic. A forty seven year old with Hep-C because of a bad series of decisions made in her twenties is not sympathetic. We’ll also need to throw in considerations of broader sympathy for race, age, and disease type. We quickly devolve into a discussion of the deserving versus non deserving poor.
After we have a sympathetic beneficiary, the fundraising drive needs a core nucleas of powerful, forceful advocates who can make the fundraising their primary activity and focus for months if not years on end. This excludes people who are new to areas, it excludes people who have lost significant elements of their family (if my family had a need, my older sister is the natural point person to organize anything needed), it excludes general assholes and curmudgeons.
And once a sympathetic beneficiary is identified with a forceful advocate, they have to access a broad network of both tight and loose ties in order to actually raise money. There are quite a few kickstarters and GoFundMes that fail misterably because the people who are pushing great ideas or truly needy projects either have no ability to connect to a wide network or can connect to a wide network that has minimal ability to give.
The Balloon Juice community has demonstrated the power of loose ties to raise significant sums of money for a sympathetic beneficiary (MARC animal shelter) with a strong advocate (John).
So the GoFundMe and bake sale method of health care financing is fraught with privilege and let’s remember that when we hear calls to rely on the charity of neighbors instead of systemic funding for a humane baseline of care via collective social action.