Friday, August 14, 2009

Thousands Line Up for Promise of Free Health Care.

This is taking place in the United States at the very same time as Astroturfers are screaming down public meetings demanding that Obama keep his hands off of Medicare.

They came for new teeth mostly, but also for blood pressure checks, mammograms, immunizations and acupuncture for pain. Neighboring South Los Angeles is a place where health care is scarce, and so when it was offered nearby, word got around.

For the second day in a row, thousands of people lined up on Wednesday — starting after midnight and snaking into the early hours — for free dental, medical and vision services, courtesy of a nonprofit group that more typically provides mobile health care for the rural poor.
The response almost overwhelmed the staff:
When Remote Area Medical, the Tennessee-based organization running the event, decided to try its hand at large urban medical services, its principals thought Los Angeles would be a good place to start. But they were far from prepared for the outpouring of need.

Set up for eight days of care, the group was already overwhelmed on the first day after allowing 1,500 people through the door, nearly 500 of whom had still not been served by day’s end and had to return in the wee hours Wednesday morning.
This is occurring inside the United States and yet we have right wingers who have the gall to be telling stories about how dreadful the NHS is and dreading that such a system could ever be imported into the US.

“I am on point with the news,” said Elizabeth Harraway, 50, who is unemployed and came for dental care. “I think the president’s ideas are awesome, and I believe opening up health care is going to work."

Stan Brock, Remote Area Medical’s founder and among the many khaki-wearing volunteers in the arena, said his organization’s intent was not to become part of the health care debate, but to do what it had done for nearly 25 years: offer charity to people in need. Still, the group attracted attention last month when President Obama visited Bristol, Va., just days after it held a health care event in nearby Wise, Va.

“My position on the Obama plan is that I am delighted to see so much focus on the health care issue," Mr. Brock said. “There is incredible focus on what we do, but that is not my doing."
It really makes me wonder if the Astroturfers are shouting the loudest, and hoping to avoid any kind of reasoned debate on this subject, in case other people get to tell their stories.

Because there are many ways to describe these scenes, but "best health service in the world" certainly isn't one of them.

Click title for full article.

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