It is midnight on a chilly morning in an isolated parking lot. A medical team from the organization: Remote Area Medical is laying out equipment as they prepare for a free clinic. The American relief organization is used to airdropping doctors and medicine into the jungles of the Amazon.
The doctors open the gates at midnight. The clinic won’t open for another 7 hours, but people are already streaming in. Some have driven for 200 miles, just to get here. They will sleep in their vehicles as best they can – comfort is not a priority – they just want to be at the head of the line. They don’t want to be turned away, but many will.
276 volunteers from 11 states are waiting. They will tell many patients, young and old: that lump, pain or foot problem is cancer, or diabetes or heart disease. The medical team will also try to find volunteer doctors who will follow up with these patients. Otherwise, these people stay without medical attention when they return home.
One guy waiting out in the parking lot drove 200 miles to get there. He has an infected tooth that had been killing him for weeks. He had two heart attacks and heart surgery a few years back, but almost no follow up since. He can’t afford it. He has employer-based insurance through but can’t afford the deductible $500.
He brought his wife and daughter for basic care like checkups, glasses and mammograms.
The doctors saw a woman who had surgery for cervical cancer in 2005, with no follow up in two years. She was supposed to have a Pap Smear every six months. RAM doctors suspect the cancer may still be there.
One elderly woman’s glasses didn’t work anymore. She’s retired, living on disability with no insurance and arrived only to find the Vision Care Line had already closed. A RAM staffer noticed her condition and put her in the line. She was examined her for a new pair of glasses.
Others were not so lucky!
My question to you is: NAME THE COUNTRY where Remote Area Medical was seeing all these sick people, with no health care:
(u) United States of America
Answer: Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.
RAM saw 920 patients, made 500 pairs of glasses, did 94 mammograms, extracted 1,066 teeth and did 567 fillings. 400 people were turned away.
The above information comes from a “60 Minutes” segment originally broadcast on CBS on March, 2008 and updated some months later.
It started like this: “Some 47 million Americans have no health insurance, and that’s just the start: millions more are underinsured, unable to pay their deductibles or get access to dental care”.
We should all ask ourselves the question “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley asked Stan Brock, the man behind RAM:
“You created this medical organization designed to go into Third World countries to go into remote places, and now doing 60-percent of your work in urban and rural America…what are we supposed to make of that?”
That’s what the HEALTH CARE DEBATE should be about: Health Care, not politics.
But then again, the agitators railing about “Socialized Medicine” were not sitting in their truck in a Tennessee parking lot at 2 AM in 27-degree weather, running the engine to keep warm. They should have come to see what “Capitalist Health Care” looks like!
These agitators didn’t drive from Georgia to Knoxville or wait for hours only to be turned away, because If they had been, there’d be no health care debate! There’d just BE Health Care!
My advice to people who don’t have Health care or find themselves in a situation where they need Health Care but don’t have coverage: call Orin Hatch or Blue Dog Democrat Mike Ross (D-Ark). Ash to be put on their plan!
Read full “60 Minutes” story: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/28/60minutes/main3889496.shtml