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Scrolling through pages of GoFundMe and YouCaring makes it painfully obvious that there isn’t enough money to bridge the gap, both for these persons seeking funds and for us to donate to each one. So, how do you pick which people (many of whom are so young!) to donate to? What’s the best way to make your dollars go the furthest?

If there’s one person who can navigate this landscape, it’s Dr. Maggie Moon, a medical ethicist for the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. We establish early in our conversation that fundraising for bills, medical, rent or otherwise, isn’t a new phenomena. Think of a congregation’s bake sale for a family with an unexpected death or pooling resources among friends when someone is laid off. The internet has just injected technology into the situation and widened the net of potential donors — and the pool of those in need.

Moon says much of internet fundraising at the moment is comparable to panhandling. “It’s just a really sophisticated way to do panhandling,” she says. Moon recognizes how loaded this term is, because of our reliance on capitalism and favoritism of middle-class values. But she stresses that panhandling is not a bad thing — this particular type is just simply the easiest (and quickest) way to connect with people.

So much of this issue is tied up in economic privilege before you even get to the part about actually paying for the health care: Have you found yourself in a safe enough space to evaluate just what care you need to feel whole? Have you found a doctor who understands your needs? Can you get to their office easily? Do you have access to the internet regularly? Do you have the time to devote to a successful (or even just a halfway successful) campaign?

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