Monday, April 11, 2011

Medical Care for the Masses: A Traveling Circus

Oakland Free Clinic at the Coliseum
The Oakland Coliseum has been hosting a "free clinic" operation sponsored by Remote Area Medical Corps, a volunteer group that travels throughout the third world, the American south and now financially depressed cities such as Oakland California to provide basic medical care and services. Uninsured folks line up, often waiting through the night, to get free dental care, eyeglasses, cancer screenings, all types of care that is economically out of reach for people without health insurance for the price of one long, cold, sleepless night.

Every day at the library I help people who have very few teeth, who have eyeglasses precariously taped together, who can't even think of holding a job because they can't see or their physical appearance has become socially unacceptable. Even my city of San Francisco dental insurance, paid one hundred percent of the cost of a tooth extraction but will only pay 50% of a significantly larger amount (5,000 dollars) to replace that tooth with an implant. And that coverage, which had been previously non-existent, won't kick in until July.

The USA will not pay to keep their cogs in the capitalist machinery well oiled and in working order because they consider us entirely disposable. "There are more where you came from," is their ongoing theme. Michael Moore illustrated this with painful clarity in his movie, "Capitalism: A Love Story." We have become so inured to the familiar with the naked obscenity of purchasing life and health that we hardly notice it anymore.

     "If living were a thing that money could buy, you know the rich would live and the poor would die"... (All My Trials, Song of uncertain folk origin that sums it all up).