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An estimated 50 million Americans have donated to crowdfunding campaigns for medical expenses, according to a new study.

The big picture: People without insurance often have to shoulder enormous bills all on their own, and out-of-pocket expenses are a burden even for people with insurance. Friends and family are a big part of the unofficial health care system.

By the numbers: NORC at the University of Chicago estimates that 8 million people have started a crowdfunding campaign for their own medical expenses, 12 million have started one for a friend or family member, and 50 million have donated to one.

  • Those figures are based on a survey of 1,000 people.
  • Overall, 20% of Americans reported donating to a medical crowdsourcing campaign.
  • 61% had donated to a relative, co-worker or acquaintance; 46% had donated to a friend's campaign; and 35% donated to a stranger.

Go deeper: GoFundMe's place in the health care system

Methodology: The self-funded poll was conducted Nov. 8–16, 2019, with 1,020 interviews of Americans 18 and older with a margin of error ±4.06%.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.

Trump gives Biden access to presidential intelligence briefings

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump White House on Tuesday gave President-elect Biden access to daily presidential intelligence briefings, a source familiar with the matter tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has refused to share the briefs until now, as he continues to challenge the result of the election and declines to concede. The president's acquiescence comes as another sign that the transition to a Biden administration is taking place.

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.