Sunday, November 18, 2007

America, the richest third world nation

Twenty six years ago I watched a long line of children and teens waiting for dental care. This was in the north of Thailand.

The dentists pulled bad teeth, one after the other. I don't recall any anesthesia, there wasn't time for much.

I think one of the children cried, and I recall a sense of disapproval from his peers.

It was a long time ago.

Things have changed since then. Now we have those lines in America ...
Health and Medicine - Insurance - Health and Managed Care - Doctors - New York Times

... The group, most often referred to as RAM, has sent health expeditions to countries like Guyana, India, Tanzania and Haiti, but increasingly its work is in the United States, where 47 million people — more than 15 percent of the population — live without health insurance. Residents of remote rural areas are less likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to have health insurance and more likely to be in fair or poor health...

And so each summer, shortly after the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair and Horse Show wraps up at the fairgrounds, members of Virginia Lions Clubs start bleaching the premises, readying them for RAM’s volunteers, who, working in animal stalls and beneath makeshift tents, provide everything from teeth cleaning and free eyeglasses to radiology and minor surgery. The problem, says RAM’s founder, Stan Brock, is always in the numbers, with the patients’ needs far outstripping what his team can supply. In Wise County, when the sun rose and the fairground gates opened at 5:30 on Friday morning, more than 800 people already were waiting in line. Over the next three days, some 2,500 patients would receive care, but at least several hundred, Brock estimates, would be turned away. He adds: “There comes a point where the doctors say: ‘Hey, I gotta go. It’s Sunday evening, and I have to go to work tomorrow.’...
Dental care is particularly in demand.

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