Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Remote Area Medical in Buena Vista

As we close in on (what appears to be) the endgame of the health care epic, here's a reminder of why it's so important to take action. From WDBJ7:

About 15 percent of Virginians do not have health insurance, making healthcare out of reach.

That's why forty medical pros from the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps, worked through the weekend, giving their time for those hurting most.

It all happened at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista Saturday and Sunday.

Dr. Nancy Weiss, a doctor said, "There's no national health insurance, there are people around here who work, but cant' afford health insurance, and we need to help them out."

Optometrists fitted glasses.

Dentists pulled and filled teeth.

From mammograms, to blood work, to annual physicals, it was all free.

Sheila Pooley, "I would have had to have gone without until we could have gotten the money to do it."

Students at the university are to credit for pulling it all together.

Jacque Loving is one of the SVU student organizers.

"We've actually had a lot of people come from North Carolina and West Virginia come over."

Hmm. People traveling long distances and crossing borders to get better health care. I thought that only happened in Canada? *snark*

The organizers said they had 421 people show up for the event. Think about that for a minute. One weekend, in one little pocket of the richest nation in the world, 421 people came to get free health care because they couldn't otherwise afford it--either because of unemployment, underemployment or lack of good insurance. The fact that we're letting this happen (and have been letting it happen for decades) is disgraceful, outrageous and morally unconscionable.

This story reminded me of a 60 Minutes special about Remote Area Medical. They were started as a way of addressing poverty and health issues in third-world countries, but have found that they're spending quite a lot of time in the United States. Here's the video:

And part 2:

Next time someone tells you we have the "best health care system in the world," show them this film. And then ask them why things like Remote Area Medical are so necessary in the richest nation in the world.

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