Our country is freaking out about health care right now. Lots of people are hurting: there are those who are worried about their health insurance being taken away, those who can’t afford insurance in the first place, those who have increasingly expensive “good” insurance, and the 47% of the country who would be financially wiped by one unexpected bill. This has led to the meteoric rise of crowdfunding websites; it’s a common refrain among working class people to say that sites like GoFundMe are your health insurance.

It was recently estimated by NerdWallet that close to half of all money raised on crowdfunding websites goes toward medical expenses.

We wanted to find out exactly how much this national trend is affecting our community. We pulled down GoFundMe data from 123 cities, towns and villages located in Congressional District NY-19, which covers all or parts of 11 counties in the region, and measured how much money was raised for medical expenses in the last two years.

Anecdotally, there were zero people citing a recent iPhone purchase or a taste for avocado toast as the reason they needed help with their medical bills.

Over $1.9M was raised across 461 campaigns since 2015, an average of $4,121 per person.

That includes $183k in Saugerties, $110k in Hudson, $104k in Woodstock, $74k in Kingston, $65k in Rhinebeck, $62k in Oneonta, and $49k in Averill Park.

The amount raised ranged anywhere from $25, for help with prescription medication, to over $90,00, for a fight with cancer. Despite the overwhelming generosity of thousands of donors, the fundraising goal was reached in only a small handful of campaigns.

Both locally and nationally, our health care system is in desperate need of improvement. We’re proud to be working with Jeff Beals for Congress here in NY-19, who is holding a #UniteNY19 health care town hall at Colony in Woodstock on Wednesday, August 2 at 6 p.m. If you can’t make it to the town hall, the event will also be live-streamed on Facebook; like Jeff’s campaign to get notified.

Kingston Creative is a digital marketing agency located in Kingston, NY. Our services include branding, marketing, and web design & development. 

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