Desperate to obstruct the closest chance we've got to real health care reform, rumor has it that the Senate Finance Committee is considering a uniquely third world-America model of care to replace a public health insurance plan option. It works like this: if you don't have coverage - or even if you do but if care is unaffordable for you - you just show up once a year at an Area Medical Expedition. The annual one in West Virginia works like this:
The 2009 Remote Area Medical (RAM) Expedition comes to the Virginia Appalachian mountains as Congress and President Obama wrestle with a health care overhaul. The event graphically illustrates gaps in the existing health care system."We're willing to sleep in pickup trucks or cars and deal with the elements to at least get some kind of health care," Reece adds. He earned a six-figure income working for an international industrial supply firm until an accident five years ago left him disabled. Joining him for dental, vision and medical checks are his wife, daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren.
"Tomorrow, I'm going to see the doctor to get my ear and my nose fixed!" grandson Jacob shouts excitedly. His nose appears battered and his ear has an oozing scab.
Problem solved! And this model won't only work for rural areas, like the West Virginia example. We in Philly have fond and grateful memories of Montel Williams driving his Big Pharma Bus through our area, tossing pills and insulin out the windows for the lucky duckies who could manage to crowd together within throwing distance:
A dozen people greeted the traffic-cone orange RV as it pulled into the Bensalem library parking lot Thursday morning, even though it would be an hour before anyone could climb aboard.
But they were desperate. The bus was their last resort.
Some like Kim hadn't taken their medication in three months, keeping just enough for an emergency dose.
She has a disorder that keeps her blood from clotting. A bad cut could hospitalize her, maybe kill her.
The drug Kim takes costs $800 for a 30-day supply. She is 18, a recent high school graduate who lost the health coverage she had through her mom.
Kim's story was only one of many heard by trained specialists on the bus.
Problem solved - by "trained specialists" - who needs fancy schmancy doctors?! And the compassion and dignity practically ooze off the page - like matter from little Jacob's untended ear.