If the worst should ever happen to your health, there’s a good chance that you’ll turn to a crowdfunding website, such as GoFundMe or JustGiving, to fill the gap left by our night-terror-inducing healthcare system. The reason for this is simple: “There wasnt” insurance brokers or complicated paperwork, simply a group of people desperate to hurl their fund at good causes for the sheer humanity of everything there is. That’s not hyperbole, by the way. In little under a decade, crowdfunding campaigns for medical expenses have brought in over$ 1 billion in donations.

When such campaigns go viral, the national media often reports them as heartwarming stories of human altruism, proof that although the world might appear to be losing its mind, there are still helpers out there. That’s … a good angle.

It surely constructs us feel better about the fact that these websites are taking a cut of everyone’s gifts. There’s a darker narrative, however, which both the media and us are dismissing: the fact that these sites are failing, albeit unintentionally, the vast majority of their users.

These might seem like wildly different things at face value, but launching a crowdfunding campaign is precisely like launching a new business. It’s not enough to have a donations page for your situation; you need to know how to sell yourself to potential donors( something your momma was pretty good at, or so we’ve heard ). When the time comes to crowdfunding, that involves rendering constant updates, writing good print, producing and editing video, promoting your campaign everywhere, and a whole other bunch of skills and connects. This isn’t something we daydream up, by the way. It comes courtesy of Indiegogo, and holy shit, it’s so far beyond the abilities of the average healthy and able-bodied person, never mind someone with a long-term, painful, time-and-energy-consuming medical difficulty. It isn’t even funny.

If you’re lacking in marketing ability, your best hope is to accidentally move viral by, say, being so awfully ill that not donating is, strictly speaking, a crime against humanity. And that’s great if you’re suffered by a “faultless” trouble like cancer — you know, something that people can see and know isn’t your faulting, unlike mental health issues issues or craving troubles. The internet is good and altruistic and shit, but it’s still judgmental.

It’s no astound, then, that only a small number of crowdfunding campaigns succeed — roughly one in three, most of whom are perpetual motion machines. When it comes to medical crowdfunding specifically, however, that success rate plummets to … 11 percent, roughly one in 10.

If you’re fortunate enough to stimulate your goal, the problems don’t terminate there. Although crowdfunded fund going to be able to fight off CLL, TB, and LD, it can also cause a instance of the horrific condition known as “IRS.” Often presenting in the form of an unwelcome audit, there are numerous examples of people receiving money from campaigns, only to have more stress piled on afterward when the IRS starts asking for its cut.

If you’re able to prove where the donations went, it’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll have to pay what they’re asking. It’s just a massive pain in the ass on top of the other bitingly real sufferings you’re seeming elsewhere.

If you think the worst thing that can result from receiving mad internet stacks is some mild-to-major inconvenience, think again. If you’re receiving any form of state assistance when you accumulate your gifts, well, you won’t be receiving it for long long, as these unfortunate welfare recipients procured, to their fright. It isn’t like taxes, however, where a couple of kinds to declare the donations is enough. If you’re receiving nation benefits, you’re categorically not allowed to receive crowdfunded money.

So how do we solve these problems? Well, we can’t. These aren’t troubles that can be fixed with an algorithm update. They’re facts of human psychology, with some legislative fuckiness for good measurement. You’re more likely to give fund to a campaign with updates, because you can see the effect you’re having( and maybe get some sweet, sweet kudo ), and the vast majority of us will always choose to give money to person we perceive as an “innocent” victim over person with a condition that we perceive “mustve been” self-inflicted( e.g. addiction ). If you’re one of those people who can looking past facts like these and give selflessly without reward or judgment, that’s great. But you’re likely in the minority, and ethnic minorities a successful crowdfunding campaign does not make.

Our only solution to these problems, therefore, is to focus on securing our healthcare system, so that we don’t need to beg for medicine money on the internet like something you’d ordinarily expect to find mentioned as a world-building detail in the background of a dystopian epic. That’s what the media should be focusing its energies on. By continuing to focus on the narrative that crowdfunding is a great style to raise money if you’re sick, news outlets are betraying the overwhelming number of people for whom it does not and can never work, as well as everyone else, since they’re investing day and attention on rare acts of goodwill instead of the overwhelming problems with our healthcare system.

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We’re not being heartless. These are great headlines to find, especially considering the crazy hours we’re living in right now. It’s so, so easy to imagine that the world is a cold, hyper-partisan straw of soil, and these headlines are proof against that contention. This is not something, nonetheless, that we as ordinary people should be celebrate. When the chips are down, the national media is capable of doing great things, and they should be trying their damnedest to consequence real change when it comes to the healthcare debate that’s raging all the goddamn day , not fawning over viral charity drives and creating the illusion that this is doable for everyone who needs help.

For every headline that sells the dream about the money that’ll allow you to live your life( or even keep on living) being a simple case of passing the sign-up page …

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… there are nine others like this, which prove that daydream is nothing but, well, a dream.

We can’t help but stress this enough, but we desire the fact that there’s an entire industry working to keep people alive — or at the least, alive and without an infarction-inducing medical bill to depict for it. That’s the dream of an interconnected world. But we also need to face up to the fact that whenever you understand a headline espousing the added benefit of crowdfunding, it’s selling a lie to nine in every ten people who take them up on that offer. The fact is not possible to heartwarming, but it sure as hell beats how heartbreaking that fact is.

Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter about depressing history that you can subscribe to. It’s really good, honest .

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