My Teeming Metropolis

An upcoming event in my town reminded me of this clip, in which the Daily Show takes down some right-wing blowhard who issues dire warnings about the third-world health care conditions that the Affordable Care Act will produce right here in the US of A. It’s very funny and I especially love it when Aasif Mandvi reduces said blowhard to incoherent sputtering. You almost feel sorry for him, but then he recovers and says that poor people should just get a GED and “stop being poor.”

(Sorry, couldn’t figure out how to embed the video. Anyone know how?)

The point, of course, is that we already have third-world health care conditions, for some people in some places. One of those places is Knoxville, Tennessee, featured in the clip as a remote medical team flies in to offer a temporary clinic to all of the people who have had no access to care for god knows how long.

But that’s Tennessee. Isolated communities, rural poverty. That’s what I thought.

But look:

Next month, the same organization, Remote Area Medical, is flying into Seattle and setting up temporary shop at one of our many sports palaces to serve people who have had no access to care for god knows how long.

If you read the web page you see that this clinic is completely free, provides medical, dental, and vision services, requires no ID (or green card), and begins distributing admission tickets at 3:30 in the morning.

Yes, people begin lining up for this clinic the night before and wait on the sidewalk all night. With their kids. And the elderly. And the disabled. In the rain. Because they have no other options.

How is this possible? This is not Tennessee. Seattle is busting at the seams with health care. Hospitals, research facilities, private practices, specialists, clinics of all sorts, some of them run by non-profit social service orgs, some of them run by the county, sliding-fee scales and all.

And yet, still, so many people fall through the cracks that the freaking remote medical team needs to parachute in and help them. Third world, indeed.

I don’t know why I’m surprised. I shouldn’t be. If only they would follow Mr. Blowhard’s instructions and stop being poor. That certainly would be better.


2 thoughts on “My Teeming Metropolis

  1. I hear you. But free vision and dental = you’d have people in my neighborhood lining up at midnight. For that matter, people in my neighborhood line up at midnight for the limited spots in free public preschool.

    And, no ID and no citizenship requirements. Another huge draw for people who are willing to line up. Not saying that people who can’t get ID or who are fugitives or who are unwilling to share their identity or who are not citizens of the United States don’t deserve medical care. Just saying that it makes a certain amount of sense that FREE medical, dental and vision care for anyone without any ID is not something any government anywhere is likely to provide.

    I’m not saying it’s not interesting…I’m just saying it’s not NECESSARILY a fall-through-the-cracks thing.

  2. My organization funds local projects just like this in my state. In fact, I was at one of the dental ones volunteering when my colleague texted me the link to that Daily Show video. Brilliant. And also terribly sad.

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