Thousands Show Up For Free Medical Care At Texas Health Fair!

@anniepa (27238)
United States
September 29, 2009 3:54pm CST
Those opposed to health care reform, or to "Obamacare", as some like to call it despite there being no bill specifically proposed by President Obama, like to cite figures such as "85% of Americans have health insurance" and "80% (or whatever the number is) of those with insurance are happy with it". They like to downplay the number of uninsured and claim that many of those included in the 40-50 million uninsured there are said to be are illegal immigrants, people who are eligible for government programs but don't know it and those who simply don't WANT insurance. They don't see health care reform as being something that's all that important and they don't know why there's a "rush" to pass something all of a sudden. Then there are those who showed up at a health fair held in Harris County, Texas. You can read about it here: It's an epidemic here in Texas and Harris County -- people without health insurance. On Saturday, the uninsured lined up to get their needs met. More than 2,000 people came to Reliant Center to see doctors for free. Many of the people we talked to can't afford health insurance, especially in the rough economy. Some say it shows the need for health care reform. Doctors, nurses and volunteers arrived at around 7am to see patients in what is believed to be the largest free clinic ever held in the United States. The National Association of Free Clinics said it decided to hold this event in Houston because this is where it felt the need is the greatest. "My foot was turned upside down," said patient Lillian Beverly. Beverly has had trouble walking since she took a bad fall three months ago. "I really don't have the money to keep going to doctors and doctors," she said. Kevin Braggs is worried about his diabetes. "I've been without insurance for six months," said Braggs. And Vicki Robinson wants to keep her son's asthma under control, but she says it's difficult. "My husband's lost his job. We've gone through our savings," said Robinson. And nine-year-old Kempton knows it. "We can't afford medicine," he said. One out of every three adults in Harris County is now uninsured and Texas ranks the worst among the 50 states in healthcare coverage, according to the U.S. Census. The National Association of Free Clinics decided it was time to hold a massive free clinic at Houston's Reliant Center. http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=7034143 Texas has the highest number of uninsured in the nation. I find it interesting that most of the states with the most uninsured are in the south and midwest, which are areas where there seems to be the most opposition to health care reform! Here's a list of the 25 states with the most uninsured residents according to Gallop: Texas - 27 percent of the population is uninsured New Mexico --- 25.6 percent Mississippi - 24 percent Louisiana - 22.4 percent Nevada - 22.2 percent Oklahoma - 22.2 percent (considered a Midwest state) California - 21 percent Wyoming - 20.7 percent Florida - 20.7 percent Georgia - 20.7 percent South Carolina - 20.4 percent Montana - 20.3 percent Alaska -- 20.2 percent Arkansas - 20.1 percent Colorado - 20 percent Oregon - 19.4 percent West Virginia - 19.3 percent (considered a Northeast state) North Carolina - 19.3 percent Idaho - 18.8 percent Utah - 18.1 percent Kentucky - 17.9 percent Tennessee - 17.8 percent Nebraska - 17.7 percent Alabama - 17.2 percent Missouri - 17.1 percent (considered a Midwest state) http://ppidgeon.typepad.com/offthecuff/2009/08/states-with-most-uninsured-most-likely-to-believe-euthanasia-govt-takeover-myths.html A few months ago there had been similar health fairs in California and Tennessee, also with huge turnouts. The latter was instrumental in causing former Cigna executive Wendell Potter see the error of his ways and become a "whistle blower" regarding insurers' practices of rescission and other tactics used to keep from paying claims of sick customers. http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07102009/profile.html It appears that the "public option" has definitely been defeated in the Senate Finance Committee bill which means their bill is basically a huge "corporate welfare" bill using tax dollars to benefit insurance companies, which are responsible for the crisis we're in to begin with, in my opinion. Any comments? I'd be especially interested in hearing from those of you from the states with the highest number of uninsured/underinsured residents. If you live in one of these states it's likely your Senators and Representative are against the health care bills that have been proposed, particularly those with a public option. Annie
3 people like this
11 responses
@Koriana (302)
• United States
30 Sep 09
we recently had one of those free clinics in our area...same results. an unbelievable number of people showed up. But, I don't really see where these clinics do much help. Maybe with dental problems or such but for those of us that have chronic conditions that need regular medical care, it just isn't gonna fly. neither does the er. at least in my area, we do have a free clinic that is open 5 days a week. that's another thing that should be looked into. Virginia is less liberal than New York when it comes to welfare. and yet, to be honest, if I had broken my ankle down here, I would have had less hassle getting it fixed....they aren't looking at the government to solve your problem for ya, they know they aren't, so they are more apt to help. I would be that the uninsured in texas are more apt to find doctors that are willing to work with them, heck our pediatrician in texas had my husband and me working around her office on off hours and taking it off our bill.
3 people like this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
1 Oct 09
That's true, those clinics don't help long term problems. We have a free clinic in my area but it's only open one evening a week. There's very little funding for it and I think they have even less to work with this year than last and the need is far greater. It's nice there are doctors who are willing to work with their uninsured patients but with as many uninsured as there are these days pretty soon they'd be working just about for free. Annie
@Koriana (302)
• United States
1 Oct 09
The more people that become unemployed, underemployed, the more people who are uninsured. The more people that are uninsured, the more people that qualify for the gov't programs, or are going to the er for their problems, which means more of the cost is shifted to the paying patients, who are growing smaller in number. The more cost that is shifted to paying patients. The more those patients find the cost unaffordable, they don't pay, or they go on a gov't program, whatever..... and the circle goes round and round!! Recently I heard on fox news that over 50% of the revenue that is being brought into the healthcare industry is coming from those gov't programs. It's all pretty much socialized now, when you consider that the health insurance industry is pretty much a socialist concept, I mean, we all pool our money together, just in case something happens and we need the care. This week, some of that money might be going to help you, but next week, some of your money might be going to help me. But, much of the money we all are putting into the pool is going to keep a bunch of parasitic multi-million dollar earners in the industry in a lavish lifestyle. Personally, I can't afford the healthcare, even with the insurance. I don't think most of those on these boards could afford the healthcare, they are just lucky enough to be young and healthy or have some danged good insurance. I don't think that we as a nation, can afford much more of this. And, quite frankly, I think that the most recent economic downfall was connected to the problems surrounding the healthcare! There's all these people on these boards thinking that it's perfectly okay for some of us to go without, make the er our sole provider for services, ect. But, I would like to point out....the people who are having to entertain these ideas ARE TAXPAYERS!! They pay taxes, they help foot the bill for 50% of the revenue that is going to the healthcare industry! And, someone's got to ask... if the er is such a great option, well, why not just take that 50% back and give it back to the taxpayers, maybe then, they might find healthcare a little more affordable.....and the parasites will just have to learn to live on less than a million dollar salaries!
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
1 Oct 09
Koriana, what can I say - your post was excellent and I couldn't have said it better!It IS a vicious circle and if something about health care isn't done SOON our economy is never going to truly recover. Annie
@N4life (851)
• United States
29 Sep 09
Perhaps events like these will magnify the need. What I don't understand is when Obama was voted for President it was no secret that he was for a public health care option. I guess it shows how those with other interests can ratchet up the propoganda and pressure politicians.
3 people like this
@artistry (4154)
• United States
30 Sep 09
...Hi N4life, I was trying to figure that one out as well, as he stated it more forcefully in the beginning, wanting to include a public option. Then I started to listen more closely, the Blue Dog Democrats were starting to get their backs up over the public option and when Rahlm Emanuel could not seem to calm them down, it appeared that Obama stopped pushing it so forcefully in public. I think he still wants the option, but he can't say it as loud. He needs all the Dems on board at least in the first rounds, and somehow deals are going to be made, I believe that will assure that some form of public option will be included in the final bill that hits the president's desk. At least that is what I am hearing, in the under current. But the Republicans and some Dems are against the public option, as it will take money from the insurance companies, which give millions in contributions to members of the Senate and House, and those members are working on their behalf without amy qualms. I think the people are going to have to do something emass to help themselves, what and how I don't know, but it is reaching critical mass for many people without health care. Take it easy..
2 people like this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
30 Sep 09
The insurance lobby has targeted the "blue dog" Democrats in particular and scared them into fearing for their reelection. I'm a bit disappointed that the President hasn't been more forceful about the public option but I'm still hopeful we'll get it in the end. Annie
@N4life (851)
• United States
3 Oct 09
It looks slightly more hopefull now. Perhaps those for health care reform need to get as passionte as those against it. I think they would be forced to follow through with something worthwhile.
• United States
29 Sep 09
Another great post from you, Annie. I'm glad that the article you posted mentioned someone with diabetes, because people with Type 1 not being able to afford their insulin has become an enormous problem. The American Diabetes Association has this issue on their front page at www.diabetes.org, and it's really heartbreaking. Insulin is extraordinarily expensive, and people who are laid off or are too debilitated by this illness and others to work are going into serious debt or they're going without.
• United States
1 Oct 09
And how.
• Australia
30 Sep 09
As an Australian I am totally astonished at the state of the medical system in supposedly the world's richest country. If you have no private insurance here, and you are old, unemployed, or earning very low income, the government provides cheap medicine and cheap medical fees. And somehow we manage to do it while remaining solidly in the top echelon on the OECD countries, and have managed to weather the current economic crisis better than any country other than China, without even slipping into recession. Doctors have a maximum fee, set by their own medical association, so even those in work who prefer not to insure are not robbed blind when they get sick. If the US need a model, it's right at hand. Lash
3 people like this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
30 Sep 09
That whole "world's riches country" bit is rather misleading, I'm afraid. Now, "world's riches insurance executives", that's VERY accurate! The worst part about these health fairs is that the majority of those who use them are working people. Some even have some insurance but not enough to cover their needs. Annie
• United States
29 Sep 09
Those against the heath care debate are against it because of greed and fear. They are being selfish and dont care what will happen in the future. I have health insurance but I have been without a job and insurance before. I hate that they vote against the public option today but I hope they put forth a plan that will help everyone.
3 people like this
• United States
29 Sep 09
Hi, Annie! I just don't get putting money over the health of people in this country. Even those of us with insurance are being driven into the ground by enormous co-payments and things the insurance won't cover. Except for a few very wealthy people, we NEED health care reform, and we need it in a hurry!
3 people like this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
30 Sep 09
My feelings exactly! Health care should not be a business for profit, I'm sorry, it's just wrong! Annie
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
29 Sep 09
I don't see how anybody could be against giving proper health care coverage. Heck if your worried about the cost think of it this way. The people who aren't presently covered end up going to the emergency room where they're guaranteed to be treated but at a much higher cost. When they don't pay the bill the hospitals have to make up the money by overcharging for everything else thus driving up our insurance premiums. YOUR PAYING FOR IT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER! Heck even with insurance the hospitals clean me out. If my daughter has a bad asthma attack & spends a week in the hospital I'm stuck out of work ( since a parent has to stay with the child )& then get hit with all kinds of charges. When we can barely cover our monthly bills that not only puts us in the hole but throws dirt on top of us. The whole system needs a good overhaul.
2 people like this
@JodiLynn (1417)
• United States
30 Sep 09
Does your state offer "CHIP"? (childrens health insurance program), Look into it!!!! it's low cost or free (free in PA to ALL children). Check out: www.chip.org for your state's info.
@JodiLynn (1417)
• United States
30 Sep 09
www.chip.org
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
30 Sep 09
The link you included is Children's Hospital INFORMATICS Program. Not insurance.
1 person likes this
@megaplaza (1438)
• Nigeria
30 Sep 09
I don't need to be in america to understand the importance of free health care. A lot of people here hate this, they put up topic claiming they are not going to pay for illegal aliens and when i talk they say that i need to leave them to talk about their country. I very very happy to see over 5 americans in support of that. Atleast, they outnumbered those against it here. Not even one of them commented on this, they are ashamed of their lies and worried that you are americans with first hand experience. Thanks annie. GOD bless for exposing the truth.
2 people like this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
1 Oct 09
There sure are a lot of Americans suffering because of our health care crisis. I hear over and over again about how we have the best health care in the world; a lot of good that does for someone who can't afford it! Annie
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
30 Sep 09
I have not been nearly as attentive as I should have been about all of the intricacies of the proposed health care reform bill, anniepa, but I am going to look into the situation more closely soon. I am aware, however, that there are way too many people who are in desperate need of health care but cannot afford it. This is a national shame. I mentioned in a recent discussion about this very subject that for a nation looked upon as the greatest of the free world we fall seriously short in taking care of our own people. I am certain that if they held such a health fair in any section of the country the number of attendees would still be staggering.
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
30 Sep 09
You're right, they could probably hold two or three (or more for larger states) in every state every week and still have more people than they could handle on a regular basis, the need is that great. Annie
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
29 Sep 09
I was surprised to see Florida's numbers, Annie, but then I started to think about it. With our primary industry being tourism I'm sure there are many folks working in that industry who aren't offered (or eligible because they're part time) health insurance by their employer. I do know that in my little corner of the state there are many folks who don't have employer provided health coverage and are far from being financially able to purchase individual policies on their own.
1 person likes this
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
29 Sep 09
Well most tourism jobs are seasonal so of course, seasonal jobs don't often offer insurance benefits. Bigger businesses like Universal Studios and Disney do offer excellent health insurance and benefits and I'm sure man of the hotel chains offer insurance to their employees as well. I think the age of Florida's population may have something to do with those numbers as well as the number of immigrants (mostly Haitian and Cuban) that may not be able to legally work and subsequently aren't getting insurance through their jobs.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
29 Sep 09
What are you talking about...seasonal, Taskr? (I had to check to see if you are where I thought you are) Our "season" is all year long and the chain hotels/motels account for a very small percentage of the available room providers across the state. There are also the shops, restaurant and the many different forms of entertainment & sports activities that employ Floridians. I would imagine that if the stats were broken down by county, the Orlando area where Universal and Disney reside would have much lower numbers, but Florida is a big state, as you know. As far as age goes, our retirees usually have Medicare, so they're not likely to be uninsured. Our Cuban population is legal (wet foot/dry foot law) and the Haitian refugees are also legal as far as I know but they're probably the largest group of uninsured in the state due to the types of jobs and the kind of employers they're most likely to work for. Day laborers and those who work for the smaller landscaping and cleaning companies aren't offered insurance by their employers.
2 people like this
• United States
30 Sep 09
I have lived in NY, Chicago, and now Florida. I find Florida to be one of the worst places I have ever worked. Because it is a right to work state, the laws that tell employers how they must treat their employees are very thin. A lot of them don't offer health care, because they don't want to pay for it, and they don't have to. They know someone else will come in for the job, if that person leaves. At least here in the northern part of the state, the turnover is startling. If they aren't fired for sneezing wrong, then they quit with no notice, for something small the company does. The work ethic stinks, the pay generally stinks, and the benefits are substandard at best. Companies like right to work states, because the rules are very flexible. I am not surprised at all by the number of uninsured in Florida, because so many companies don't offer insurance, or only to full time workers, but then only hire for part time hours. Here where we live there is a clinic that will take patients on a sliding scale payment, according to how much you make. But, if you say have a sick child, or relative, even that can add up quickly, as you have to pay it up front, and a lot of people simply go without care.
1 person likes this
@xfahctor (14131)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
30 Sep 09
"They like to downplay the number of uninsured and claim that many of those included in the 40-50 million uninsured there are said to be are illegal immigrants, people who are eligible for government programs but don't know it and those who simply don't WANT insurance" then you write this: " I find it interesting that most of the states with the most uninsured are in the south and midwest, which are areas where there seems to be the most opposition to health care reform!" This is most interesting because it is ALSO the same areas that have a very high ilegal immigrant population. Coinkidink? Just so your aware, the first place I ever saw the number of unisured broken down was in the New York Times . Ansd once again annie, most people AREN'T oposed to health insurance/coverage reform. We just want it done right the first time and in a way that is consistant with the principlas of our founding and our constitution.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
1 Oct 09
X, we're never going to agree on this. Period. Making health care accessible and affordable to all is consistent with my principles. Our founding fathers couldn't have possibly foreseen the problems regarding health care facing us today. I doubt they'd approve, though, of the insurance companies making their billions in obscene profits on the backs of sick people. That's not fitting of any principles, in my opinion. Annie
@xfahctor (14131)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
1 Oct 09
You keep missing my point annie.....it CAN be done with in that framework. I am in NO way opposed to fixing things. It ISNT fixing it that I find conflicting with our constitution at all. You keep falling back on that straw man argument of health coverage reform vs. no health coverage reform, it is no where near as black and white as that.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
1 Oct 09
So, X, exactly what are you in favor of? What, in your estimation, will not conflict with the Constitution? My view is that without a public option to give some REAL competition to the corrupt and greedy insurance companies there can't be real reform. Annie