Free healthcare clinic draws thousands

While Glenn Beck and the folks over at FOX News were busy promoting their Tea Parties, giving their more rabid viewers an opportunity to scream, red-faced about Socialism and wave around the Hitler posters that they’d been hiding all these years, Keith Olbermann’s crew at MSNBC decided to go another route. Under the guidance of Countdown producer, Richard Stockwell, they started planning a series of free healthcare clinics around the United States. The first one took place this last Saturday, in New Orleans. Here’s video:

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  1. Peter Larson
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    I read an article the other day about a Michigan Militia member and his gun toting family. He ranted on about “big government” and how the federal government should not be providing health care to people because that would be “socialist”. Turns out he’s a federal employee and his entire family has top notch health insurance completely at tax payer expense so that he can pick garbage up off the side of the road.

    These free health clinics are the way to go. The feds should be ponying up money for these types of small community clinics that reach and benefit more people than any expensive insurance scheme ever could. While they may not be offering MRI’s and brain surgery, they could offer services that benefit 99% of all medical patients in addition to becoming important areas of health information dissemination and community support.

    There was a system of community clinics in the south in the late 60’s and 70’s that worked extremely well but, of course, our hero Reagan came in and cut it because poor black people used them. Face it, why should white taxpayers have to pay for health care for lazy black people?

  2. Larry Seven Larry
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Wait a second. You aren’t suggesting that FOX News, instead of flaming the anti-government fires, and inciting patriotic riots, should be…. gasp… providing actual solutions? That’s outrageous. And unAmerican too boot.

  3. EOS
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Peter –

    The majority of the poor are white. The majority on Medicaid are white. You are race baiting.

    There is free health care in Ypsilanti provided by Hope Clinic all year long. Those without any health insurance can get medical attention. Many of those who have limited incomes can qualify for Medicaid – even the working poor.

    The problem with one day free clinics is that a person receives a diagnosis but still doesn’t have the ability to pay for treatment over the long term. The person discussed in the video with high blood pressure needs prescription medication and follow-up care. A person diagnosed with diabetes needs access to medication, supplies, blood glucose testing equipment. The working poor need access to health care on a continuous basis. But, the solution to this problem of limited access should not destroy the current health care options of all others.

    Earlier this week I heard on the news that some insurers are changing access for women to receive mammograms. Rather than screening all women once a year after age 40, they only want to provide access to mammograms after age 50. With one in eight women being diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives, it is essential for early detection in order to prevent deaths. The American Cancer Society is opposed to this change, as more women will not be able to detect cancer at its earliest stages and more will die as a result.

    Under a one payer health care system, access to proper health care will be limited for everyone so that the minority that aren’t receiving any care right now can have access to limited care. The proposed system of universal access will limit the treatment options of everyone while forcing those who have worked hard all their lives to pay significantly higher premiums to obtain these reduced care options. Those who don’t work at all will be able to afford the time waiting to see one of the limited number of doctors. Those who hold down full-time jobs will be at a disadvantage and may have difficulty getting sufficient time off work to allow for adequate health care.

    And anyone who thinks that the Federal government will be able to reduce waste and inefficiency in our current system in order to use the savings to expand health care to more individuals has not been paying any attention to the levels of waste and mismanagement that have occurred in State and Federal health care programs over the past 50 years.

  4. Oliva
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    The problem with one day free clinics is that a person receives a diagnosis but still doesn’t have the ability to pay for treatment over the long term.

    In the video Olbermann reads his colleague’s essay after attending the New Orleans free clinics:

    They have been given the resources in their local communities with which they can get follow up care, but they are also the few. Over 700-thousand people in Louisiana alone have no health care, most of them with jobs that don’t offer insurance.

    The success of the free clinics, too small a reach though they be, belies the argument that we the people can’t take care of one another. But it’s true that we can’t do enough without serious clamping down on corporate profiteering where human lives are at stake, without the empowering resources of a country and government that stands up for all the people and actually cares for/about them.

    As for accusing Peter of “race baiting,” the video showed a health clinic in New Orleans, and anyone watching it would see mostly black people. The depiction’s not racist; the unacceptable conditions are. New Orleans’s population is overwhelmingly black (67 percent in 2000).

  5. Peter Larson
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    EOS obviously doesn’t see through my dry humor. I certainly know that there are white poor people without insurance. I spent a good chunk of my childhood living in a trailer park and did not have health insurance of any form until I was 38 years old. I’m nearly half white. Maybe if I were fully white, I would have had it 10 years earlier.

    My joke was mostly a bite at Reagan era justifications to cutting public aid money that benefited poor people, white or black. I think that anyone would recognize that. I guess I’m wrong though.

  6. Oliva
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    It continues to be shocking to see how things are today and trace them back to Reagan and his massive deregulation programs–like national hari-kiri performed slowly, over time . . . what vital parts didn’t get deregulated?

  7. John
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I love how people keep talking about the greedy corporations, and how they do not care for people. President Obama himself went on TV and said that we are doing unneccisary procedures, and instead of expencive CT scans, we should look at pain prevention and use pain medication to help the symptoms.
    My mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer by a “needless” CT scan. She was in severe pain for over a month and none of the signs pointed to cancer, but other things. The doctor did a CT scan on a gut feeling. It should not have been approved due to her symptoms. The insurance company approved it. She was at stage four of the deadliest form of cancer, and due to “greedy, uncaring” insurance companies and the “ART” of medicine, she is going to be one of the four percent of people that survive Pancreatic Cancer.
    Now the goverment wants to push back the age for mamagrams. Tell me who is uncaring.
    Also, if you are so in awe of the government running healthcare, the Dems are not always going to be running the country. Do you really want your healthcare run by “evil” Repubs.
    And yes Peter, you were racebaiting. You tried distancing yourself from it in your reply and then brought it up again as a reason for you not having healthcare 10 years earlier. It shows how you truly feel. And I find it funny how you put down a person who is working to provide for their family just because it is an unglorious job. Maybe if more people were willing to pick up trash and other lowly things, this country would indeed be a better place.

  8. ytown
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    This is a typical liberal tactic. If you don’t have an answer to conservatives argument, change the subject, ignore or insult. This is a case of changing the subject and hope that people don’t think for themselves. There has been FREE GOVERNMENT HEALTH CLINICS for decades. Just go to for starters. Mark look at both sides please! I by no means think that our health care system is flawless, however, Obama Care is too rushed, not adequately funded, ill coneived and not what the majority of Americans want.

  9. Posted November 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    “Under a one payer health care system,”

    What “one payer health care system”?

    “access to proper health care will be limited for everyone”

    It will? How? Where’s the clause we’ve all missed which outlaws private medical care and private health insurance?

  10. Curt Waugh
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    WTF EOS?

    1) “…some insurers are changing access for women to receive mammograms. Rather than screening all women once a year after age 40, they only want to provide access to mammograms after age 50.”

    2) “Under a one payer health care system, access to proper health care will be limited for everyone…”

    In one breath, you describe a PRIVATE insurer who is limiting care without any oversight and in the next breath you tell us how PUBLIC insurance will limit care. So, which is it? You just like to bitch about everything, don’t you? You came here to complain about free health clinics, for chrissakes! Imma start callin’ you “Ignatius J. Reilly”.

    You’re some kind of demon, dude. Do you have a reflection?

  11. Peter Larson
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink


  12. kjc
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Gee, John, wonder if anyone has a story about how private insurance *didn’t* pay for their necessary procedure. I think there are only about a gazillion.

  13. Oliva
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    From what I understand the task force offers its recommendations to medical care providers, who can reject them, investigate them, weigh them, share them with patients. The task force has a huge team of advisors from an array of backgrounds. It’s not the task force’s duty to keep insurance companies from taking advantage of its advice in ways that harm consumers.

    Once we can eliminate the middleman, it won’t be an issue. The point, as Obama and others have been saying, some for many many years, is to get health care between people and their doctors, where it belongs. Having a government task force give information that can shed light or not is not the same thing as having government determine what care is available. But insurance companies currently keep doctors from providing the best possible care. (If you doubt it, ask your doc for an honest answer; ask your neighbors and friends.)

    It’s frustrating that the task force hasn’t been forthcoming with better instructions for how to talk to people with missing hearts or eyes stuck shut. Insurance companies might be just too giddy with this information, given the high numbers of people presently afflicted.

  14. EOS
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink


    I’ll be able to keep my employer subsidized health care only as long as my employer continues to provide it. The penalty/fine for an employer that doesn’t provide health care is less than my employer currently spends on health care. And my employer plan is better than most, so they will have to pay a penalty for providing better benefits, or else reduce the coverage to match what the current administration deems suitable. If a bill is passed in both the House and Senate that includes a government option, it is only a matter of time until the government subsidized option becomes the only option, hence single payer system. There’s lot’s of videos on You Tube that are of Obama stating that he supports a single payer system that will not take effect immediately, but would gradually be phased in over 10 – 15 years, initiated by a plan similar to what was passed in the House. You don’t have to pass a law prohibiting private health insurance, you merely have to impose regulations that make it unfeasible to continue to do so.

  15. Clem
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I think the point of the post wasn’t to suggest that health care clinics for the poor don’t exist. I think the point of the post was that one “news” network chooses to expend their effort hosting ridiculous pageants of retardation, while another chooses to promote free health care screenings for those without insurance.

  16. John
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    You don’t think that MSNBC hasn’t squawked and cried about members of the right. They even make the argument of white racist guntoting nuts showing up at Obama speaches by hiding the fact that the man who showed up at the speech with a gun was african-american.
    The constant name calling by the left shows that you have no argument, but have to belittle the people that disagree with you. (“racist” , “pagents of retardation”). I also know several people who are mentally challenged and I don’t think they would appreciate that you use their disablitiy as an insult. I find it funny that the left accuses the right of insencitivity.

    I don’t even begin to claim that health insuance companies are perfect. The current bills being offered up provide penalties for doctors not following the gov’t advisor’s guidlines. They will not be able to practice medicine. They will be forced to use a chart made in Washington to care for people.

    The government is also not suppose to provide healthcare. It is not a right. Maybe people like Jim Carrey who say making money is immoral should move to a one bedroom apt. and use his $25 million per movie to pay for other’s healthcare. I

  17. Steph's Dad
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    John, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you “know several people who are mentally challenged”.

  18. Left Cross
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, guys. The government shouldn’t be providing health care. Also let’s get rid of subsidized fire fighting – the old private system was pretty good, at least for the people who could afford the best. For those with worse or no coverage, they could just be advised to observe Personal Responsibility – be careful of oil and stovetops, watch out for water near electrical wires, stay away from lightning, etc. No big deal. If your stuff catches on fire and the people next door are to blame, then you should have exercised your freedom of choice to live somewhere away from irresponsible people.

    And libraries are a disgusting socialist experiment that was proven a huge failure years ago.

  19. EOS
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Curt –

    My apologies. I didn’t fully elaborate in my previous post. The National Cancer Institute (Feds) funded a panel to produce new U.S. breast cancer treatment guidelines. These guidelines recommend against routine mammograms for women in their 40s. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published the new guidelines in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society and Dr. Carol Lee, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission both said they fear insurers — both private and public — will use the guidelines as justification to pare back health costs. Lee said, “These new recommendations seem to reflect a conscious decision to ration care.”

    In a clumsy attempt, I was trying to show how a Federally funded agency is already using its influence to reduce health care costs by altering the standards of care and jeopardizing the health and life of the patient (or some portion of the patients). And I admit, the abrupt segue to talking about a single payer Government system was not smooth.

    Yes, I do have a reflection. Are you sure you’re not confusing demons with vampires? Please don’t call me dude. Unlike BA, I’ve enjoyed the respite.

  20. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    You need to go to one of these “free” clinics you posted a link for. “Free clinics” have strict income guidelines. Many of them require you to be below the poverty level to qualify. There are not many of these clinics across the USA. Three, four, eight hour drives to these “free clinics” you are using as your argument. Don’t forget, a large part of the American poor live in rural communities…ever heard of Farm Aid? How do you suggest the poor get to these clinics? And just because there are clinics doesn’t men you will be seen, you can be turned away, they are all swamped.

    I am sure you think that all the people who died because they were to poor to “drive their cars out of New Orleans” deserved to die because they should be responsible enough people to own a car. If we don’t help one another in the simplest ways, like taking away the fear of getting sick and ending up on the street. It’s just not a way to live; in shame all the time.

    Just yesterday Harvard announced this study:
    Study finds uninsured trauma patients much more likely to die in ER
    17. November 2009 10:29
    Here is a bit of the article:
    “Uninsured patients with traumatic injuries, such as car crashes, falls and gunshot wounds, were almost twice as likely to die in the hospital as similarly injured patients with health insurance, according to a troubling new study,” The Associated Press reports. “The findings by Harvard University researchers surprised doctors and health experts who have believed emergency room care was equitable.” The study was published in the November issue of the Archives of Surgery. Senior author Dr. Atul Gawande, a Harvard surgeon and medical journalist, “favors health care reform and has frequently written about the inequities of the current system.” The study could add fodder to the health care debate.

    So ER’s aren’t even free clinics, and look what happens there.

    I participated in two town hall phone meetings with John Dingell. I was able to ask direct questions to him. He agreed with me that the lack of competition in the medical field is another factor that drives up cost. We have a shortage of doctors, nurses, nursing colleges, and instructors he told me. He agreed with me that we need more medical schools in America, more doctors. The population is growing but the schools are not. Mr. Dingell said he has pushed for more focus on the government participating more in funding medical/nursing school in return for public service. But Mr. Dingell said to me that we must at least get this bill passed and then they can tackle the long term solutions like educating more people.

    So, who will staff all these free clinics ytown?

  21. John
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Wow Clem’s Dad. You really want to go there. I try to make a point about insencitivity from someone and you go even farther. I also know Yale graduates, two rocket scientists, and a host of others consisered societies elite. I am friends with liberals and conservitives alike. I have a diverse group of friends.
    As for the mentally challanged, they are the kindest, most generous people I know and my life is much richer having them in it. Once again, respond to the arguments, not to name calling.

    Left Cross- Firefighting and libraries work because they work as the founders intended… on the local level. Communities support them and for the most part the run effeciently. The community in which I live stand behind our firefighters and libraries with people (including me on both counts) giving money of our own free will to support these programs.

  22. Mark H.
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    All health care insurance is subsidized — insurance is a means of sharing risk. So is living in a society. So the real question is what system of subsidy for health care we’ll pick – one that protects every member of society (as in single payer systems), or one that protects only certain fractions of society.

    Health care isn’t a human right, now, but it ought to be so defined, to better ensure the well being of the society. We will be judged by how we treat the least powerful among us.

  23. EOS
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Mark H. –

    I disagree with your premise that single payer systems protect every member of society. Once all competition is eliminated and consumers have no alternatives, what is to prevent the single payer from adopting a “take it or leave it attitude”? Through what mechanism could an individual pursue a life saving treatment once the single payer has arbitrarily determined that saving that particular individual’s life is not cost-effective?

  24. ytown
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Dingell agreed with you? You must be really something special! How did people ge to the clinic in New Orleans? I’m sure you would love to tell me. Seriously, what is your problem notoneofthecoolkids? I never mentioned Katrina in my post, why are you implying it in yours? What is your point? I only pointed out that there are and have been free clinics in this country. Thanks for reading my post though!

  25. Mark H.
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Look at the actual experience of societies with single payer systems; or argue hypotheticals and abstract principles. But don’t ignore existing reality in order to assert your abstract principles. That’s intellectually dishonest – a trick.

    Note I did not assert single payer systems are perfect, just as I did not say single payer systems are monopolies: Canada, for instance, certainly permits people to purchase medical services privately. Most importantly, Canada establishes a basic level of medical care to which all people are entitled. The US system does no such thing and thus ensures that lots of people are forced to go without adequate health care. The least powerful of our fellow human beings are the most likely to be excluded, EOS, and I thought you were a professed follower of a historical figure who said we’d all be judged by how we treat the least of these.

    The UK, Canada, other comparable countries – they spend less on health care than we do yet provide more complete health care services and often achieve superior health care outcomes. Advocating a single payer system is the true conservative position, as it better promotes social cohesion, which true conservatives (as opposed to right wing ideologues) value.

  26. EOS
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Mark H.-

    Let’s consider the existing reality. The U.K. and Canada do not have a better health system than the U.S. They provide a universal minimal level of care for those who have the time to wait. And they provide waiting lists for expensive treatments that ensure a large percentage of persons will die as they wait to receive treatment necessary to save their lives. And yes, you are right, they do spend less on health care. Their government run programs determine end of life decisions which are, for the most part, independent of both the patient and their doctor’s concerns and desires. The wealthy travel to the U.S. and India to purchase life saving treatments, while the majority have no option other than to do without.

    I believe that we do have a responsibility to the least powerful of our fellow human beings. That is why I strongly advocate the denial of taxpayer funded abortions. That is why I believe we are morally bound to improve the current safety net of Medicaid and Medicare and stop allowing Federal government to confiscate taxpayers money and waste it on such a massive scale of mismanagement as they currently and historically have done in our Federal health care programs. I believe I am morally obligated to help others understand the negative outcomes and loss of input in health care decisions that would result from Federal takeover of our medical systems.

    The true conservative position, aka classical liberal, is less governmental control and more individual freedoms. I’ll ask you again – if we adopt a single payer system, through what mechanism could a non-wealthy individual pursue a life saving treatment once the single payer has arbitrarily determined that saving that particular individual’s life is not cost-effective?

  27. Mark H.
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    EOS, Canada & the UK have far greater access to quality health care than the US, and the UK spends less per capita on health care than the US does. Much US spending on health care is wasted.

    Already in the US health care is rationed — the poor and uninsured are denied much coverage, including basic care. This is expensive. It’s a choice. Single payer systems represent another choice.

    Your alarmist hypothetical question, “if we adopt a single payer system, through what mechanism could a non-wealthy individual pursue a life saving treatment once the single payer has arbitrarily determined that saving that particular individual’s life is not cost-effective?” is not based on actual practice in a single payer system. But of course, in the current US system, people die every day because they are denied access to treatment. Ideologues of the right don’t care to deal with that reality.

  28. Left Cross
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    BUT HEALTH CARE IS NOT A RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  29. Gregory Despait
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    This is Ron Paul’s vision for how health care should be delivered to those without insurance.

  30. dirtgrain
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    We determine, collectively, what is a right (assuming we have some element of democracy in our system still).

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