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U.S. “Health Care Charity”

March 5, 2008

katrina-damage.jpgThe news show “60 Minutes” covered an American relief charity that airdrops doctors and medicine in the wilds of the Amazon jungle. Remote Area Medical recently served the needs of needy Americans in the wilds of Knoxville, Tennessee. A dental and medical clinic was set up in a few hours. All supplies and professional time were donated. How many patients showed up?

Seven hours before opening time, the parking lot began to fill with people. State officials were called in for crowed control and numbered tickets were issued because of the quantity of crowd, despite the fact that the weather was below freezing. All the recipients had vehicles. Does that mean that these Americans are just cheap freeloaders? One of the doctors set the score straight, “It’s the working poor, most with families, most not substance abusers and employed with inadequate insurance.”

medical-clinic.jpgThe organization that was developed to serve Third World countries in remote places is doing almost two-thirds of its work in urban and rural America. In the expedition to Knoxville, the volunteer health group of 276 professionals from 11 states saw 920 patients, made 500 pairs of glasses, did 94 mammograms, extracted 1,066 teeth and did 567 fillings. In the end, 400 people were turned away. The recent expedition to Wise County, VA is believed to be the largest free medical event of its kind ever held in the United States. In a two and a half day period last year from July 20th to July 22nd, a force of 1,377 medical volunteers provided service to 8,431 patients for a value of free care amounting to $ 1,365,804.00. Most of their future efforts in the States are scheduled in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Clearly, the United States has a need for decent affordable medical care. Is a single-payer government-run system the answer? Currently, a health insurance trial is running in Massachusetts as a test run for the country. Results have been mixed at best. Unfortunately, the state is charging penalties to people that cannot afford insurance, but according to state statistics in place are mandated to pay for their coverage. In many cases, the penalty is more affordable than the insurance. Paying the penalty is not insurance coverage. The finances of the program that has operated for more than a year are not making the grade. Some one will have to pay the difference. Nobody has decided who that will be. The cleverly-devised health system in Massachusetts is not working. The plan is not ready to unveil on the nation. Many federal politicians want to force the issue. What is the answer?

Elvis Manning


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