Dying Activist Tells Congress GoFundMe Isn’t a “Substitute” for Health Care

One out of every three GoFundMe donations goes toward medical costs.

Ady Barkan, an advocate for single-payer health care, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, three years ago. During hearings on Medicare for All on Tuesday, he was the first person to give testimony to Democrats of the House Rules Committee.

Barkan’s voice has degenerated to a point that he has to use a speech-generating device. He testified to the Rules Committee about how private insurance has impacted his life:

“For my family, although we have comparatively good private health insurance, ALS now means paying out of pocket for almost 24-hour home care. This costs us $9,000 every month. The alternative is for me to go on Medicare and move into a nursing home, away from my wife and my son. So we are cobbling together the money from friends and family and supporters all over the country. But this is an absurd way to run a health-care system. GoFundMe is a terrible substitute for smart Congressional action.”

People in the US are turning to crowdfunding to pay for their medical expenses. According to GoFundMe’s CEO, one out of every three GoFundMe donations goes toward medical costs.



Image adapted from: “Strategic Dialogue – January 2014” by United Workers is licensed under CC BY 2.0