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Uninsured camp out for free health care

In a rural corner of Virginia, thousands of people without health insurance line up
for days to receive free healthcare provided by an army of volunteer doctors and nurses.

The health care is supplied by a worthy group, the Remote Area Medical [1] Volunteer Corps. Their founder — none other than Stan Brock, once a star of the nostalgia favorite “Wild Kingdom” — said in another video clip [2] I ran across that he got the idea from his days in the Amazon; after a serious injury, he was told he was 29 days on foot away from the nearest health care.  (Brock is careful in that interview to characterize health care as a “privilege.”)

The Amazon jungle — a reasonable model for those without health insurance in America.

14 Comments (Open | Close)

14 Comments To "Uninsured camp out for free health care"

#1 Comment By dutchmarbel On August 2, 2009 @ 8:15 am

I saw a documentary on the BBC a few days ago, probabely about the same camp (sorry, my sound doesn’t work at the moment so I can’t check). I remember that one of the doctors said that the fact that they now had to do this in the States meant that they had less time to volonteer in the third world countries they originally planned the camp for.

#2 Comment By Thomas Nephew On August 2, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

Hey, they’ve got no call to complain — we’re a third world country too. 🙁

#3 Comment By dutchmarbel On August 2, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

If that were true nobody would be as suprised at your ‘backward tendencies’. I’m still amazed at the number of rightwing Americans that defend the position that the French are better at organizing healthcare than the Americans could ever be 😉

#4 Comment By Thomas Nephew On August 2, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

That’s a great line — “you’re right, I suppose; the French are better at that than we can ever hope to be.” 🙂

Re surprise: I wonder who’s still surprised at those tendencies. There’s something Hurricane Katrina-like about that video — vice-versa, actually — in the way it shows a beaten down population reduced to hoping, praying, and waiting for these kinds of “normal social function ex machina” events. The guy on the other video called it a ‘miracle’ without really questioning why a ‘miracle’ like this was necessary.

#5 Comment By dutchmarbel On August 4, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

Some people [3] 😉

Things like your healthcare system and the way Katrina could happen (and New Orleans is allowed to desintegrate) are amongst the tendencies that really suprise us. But they suprise us because on so many other area’s you guys are just like us, or even an exampe to aim for.

#6 Comment By Patrick On August 4, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

This video is powerful, a call to arms. I feel guilty that I’m just sitting here while this is going on.

It looks like it could have been filmed in southwestern VA. I traveled through some parts of this region attending a series of public hearings on mental health system reform in VA in the late 90s. It was quite an experience.

If some folks/policymakers think of health care as a privilege, that goes doubly so for mental health care. And Congress only recently passed insurance parity for mental illnesses, which advocates have been lobbying for, for years. (And it remains to pass effective regulations to implement parity.)

Sorry to digress. Regarding health reform, generally, I don’t think we can necessarily do it all at once, but I think our approach should be comprehensive (which in my mind means we might have to phase in various reform measures). I think we should begin with regulating the devil out of the insurance companies as well as hospitals, doctors (especially ethical regs. that extend to the business relationship between patient and doctor)and other providers.

On the other hand, the more I think about it, I believe we need a public option now (while it’s still a politically viable option). Other than its scale, do you realistically see much of a difference between it and Medicare?

#7 Comment By Thomas Nephew On August 5, 2009 @ 12:20 am

As I see it, HR3200 is mainly about regulating some aspects of health insurance more closely, but leaving for-profit health insurance and the resulting skewed incentives in place. There are very good elements, and if it insures even “just” a million or five million more Americans, that will save lives, and that will be a very good thing.

The political question is whether we should have to settle for that after waiting since 1992 and longer for serious health care reform. Some like (see, e.g., [4]) say this is a (political) non-argument — single payer was never in the cards: the Dem gains of the past 4 years were not about that kind of ‘New New Deal’-like transformation, but simply about regaining power, stopping the bleeding kind of.

I don’t agree with that completely, but more importantly Bowers ignores the quality of the ‘public option’ proposal under consideration. HR3200 allows for one — and depending on how robust that option is, it might eventually grow to Medicare-like, single-payer like predominance among the ‘health insurance exchange’ participants; a kind of Wal-Mart of health insurance with monopsony buyer power. But the big word is ‘might’ and the odds are it might not. For one thing, it’s not a done deal, and might get dropped altogether at some point in the legislative process. But single-payer critics like PNHP and [5] argue that even the “public option” on the table at the moment is so pale a version of the original idea as to be all but stillborn, mainly because there’s no pre-enrollment so the option has to fight for its clients — as I understand it most of us are walled off from it because having employer based insurance makes you ineligible, whether you’re fond of that insurance or not. According to Sullivan, the public option we’re liable to get is a ‘bait and switch’ from the Jacob Hacker proposal that gained popularity in the past years — 10-15M clients after years, vs 100+M clients right away under the original proposal. In this view, insurance companies are winning the fight — so far — to keep ‘public option’ small, weak, probably disproportionately unhealthy clients, etc. If so, ‘public option’ could die a ‘natural’ death at some point in the middle run, even in the short run, and discredit the health care reform movement in the process.

Then again, [6] have public option reaching near 50M clients. I don’t know who’s right. But while I’m not a health care reform wonk or daily activist, I do see/suspect a difference between public option and the single-payer Medicare-type vision. My sense is that you *could* “get there from here” (here being public option’ whatever that turns out to be) — but the opposition is working hard to make that take a very, very long time.

I hope eRobin will drop by and set me straight on these things — she’s a friend who’s more radical than I am “but” is working hard for the [7] alliance; that alliance is supporting/influencing the mainstream Dem. congressional proposal process. I think the main argument for that process is the hope that some sizeable percentage of those people in the video find some kind of health care relief so they don’t have to get their care in stables at a state fair site, and/or don’t have to go bankrupt to deal with major medical bills. I don’t want to be a single payer advocate who denigrates the good that can come of less sweeping reform; any reform is welcome, I just want as much as possible.

#8 Comment By eRobin On August 8, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

Hey, Thomas! As usual, I don’t think you need to be set straight. I agree with your evaluation of the weaknesses of the public health insurance plan option. They are making it hard to get into. The House bill gives the insurance industry a three year (!!?!) head start to cover as many people as they can with improved plans. And even with that, the plan may be watered down even further or dropped completely, although I don’t see the latter happening now.

As weak as this reform will be – and it will be very, very weak – I don’t think that we have an alternative but to support it and continue to push to make it as strong as possible. Sadly, just as it would have taken a million people marching in major cities and venues across the country to win a very strong reform, it will take that many to secure even a moderate one. We simply do not have that sort of popular will in this country right now. As my friends and I always say to each other when we learn of the latest weakening of the reform or of the latest bad deal cut with industry, “Paris would burn.”

#9 Comment By eRobin On August 8, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

How do I download that video? I thought all YouTube videos were d/lable

#10 Comment By Thomas Nephew On August 9, 2009 @ 12:04 am

I don’t know anything about downloading, but it ought to be embeddable on your web site just like it is here. If you install RealAudio, you can sometimes download videos on the fly, though I can’t say what would happen for this video.
— I wonder if the Kucinich bill might make sense — allow states to implement their own single payer bills, take federal preemption off the table. (ERISA’s supremacy is what did in Fair Share Health Care a couple of years ago here in MD.) I imagine I’ll find out Kucinich’s bill doesn’t have good prospects either, but that might be a way to go.

#11 Comment By eRobin On August 9, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

I think that K’s bill is a good idea with promise. But, I live in PA, where there is a strong movement to achieve state-single-payer.

I want to put it on a dvd and use it a forum I’m hosting on monday. may just hope the place his wifi and run it from youtube.

#12 Comment By Thomas Nephew On August 9, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

OK, I was able to install RealPlayer SP Beta from [8]. Once installed — download + install took maybe 10 minutes on DSL — run it and check the settings under “Tools / Preferences / Download and Recording”. You want
a) a check mark next to “enable web download etc for [your installed browsers, presumably IE7/8 +/or Firefox]. This probably already checked for you.
b) Show the “download this video” button … “on page load for 30 seconds.” This originally says 7 secs, which isn’t long enough, I think.

When I then visited the YouTube site for this video — [9] — a little popup “download this video” button appears on the upper right corner of the video. (It also reappears if you mouse over the video panel.) If you click it, eventually (2-5 sec) a download process begins, resulting in a ~17MB “Uninsured camp out for free healthcare.flv” file.

The application offers other video file formats, but they’re mostly for iPods and whatnot. For computers, this .flv format is all they offer. That may mean you’ll need to have RealPlayer loaded on whatever computer you use to replay the .flv file.

#13 Pingback By newsrackblog.com » Blog Archive » Re: Fw: SENIOR DEATH WARRANTS On August 12, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

[…] Uninsured camp out for free health care […]

#14 Pingback By American Street » Blog Archive » Re: Fw: SENIOR DEATH WARRANTS On August 14, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

[…] much as any other country, and if we do nothing, those costs will rise to 37% by 2050. People are camping out by the hundreds when they have a chance to get free health […]