An Olympian’s most recent challenge: the American health care system

November 7, 2023

When you hear about an Olympian like Mary Lou Retton grappling with a rare form of pneumonia, it makes you think. Mary Lou Retton – someone who was once known for her physicality – was in the hospital with a stack of medical bills piling up – so much so that her daughter turned to the internet to help pay her medical bills.

Believe it or not, she’s not alone in this health care balancing act, Morningstar reports.

McKenna Kelley, Mary Lou’s daughter, used a platform called “SpotFund” – which is similar to GoFundMe. A whopping 27% of SpotFund campaigns are for health care bills, and GoFundMe isn’t far behind, with one-third of their fundraisers aimed at covering medical costs.

A study that looked deeper into GoFundMe campaigns revealed a sad truth. Between 2016 and 2020, just 12% of these campaigns actually reached their fundraising goals. And 16% didn’t get a single dime.

People Magazine reports that Mary Lou Retton came home from the hospital and is recovering. Her fundraising page had raised $459,000 as of Oct. 23.

Have you ever had to use emergency savings or turn to an internet campaign to cover medical costs? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.