Crowdfunding and HealthCare Coverage

Having affordable and comprehensive healthcare is desirable, but not always possible. So when one of their employees was injured, the NYC bar, Employees Only, went to GoFundMe to drum up the scratch to pay for the man’s medical costs.

The employee was Uros Miljkovic, a bartender who was struck in the face by cargo in a passing truck when he was visiting Miami in August. Although there was no superficial damage, he still required surgery to repair the damage under his skin where his broken bones and cartilage had suffered extensive harm.

Although Employees Only has access to the Restaurant Worker Health Care Cooperative, the plan doesn’t cover damage like this and it was traditional practice for other employees to start a donation pool to help out their coworkers in situations like this, but Uros’ need was slightly more substantial, so the crew turned to GoFundMe and launched the campaign to “Save Uros’ Face” which was successful in raising over $20,000 in 19 days.

Yes, the campaign offered good rewards to donors. Yes, the requested funds were raised in just three days and still pouring in after they’d topped off at their goal. I think it is worthy of note that a humble, but high-volume job at a popular NYC bar does help though – I had never thought of it as such a fertile network, but I suppose it is: bartenders and their patrons certainly share a special relationship. Also, I remember from my time in the restaurant world that many servers in the food industry look to each other as a family. I wonder if this same model would work for someone who wasn’t customer facing, who worked in, say, the archives of some branch of the NYC library instead. I’d like to think that they would also receive the support they needed, but I’m not sure they would. I’m glad it worked for Uros, though.

What do you think about crowdfunding for health care costs? Why do you think this campaign was so successful?

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