"Third World Organization, First World Need: America's Health Care" Hundreds of people gather in the morning at the gate of the fairgrounds waiting for their numbers to be called. If they make the cut-off, they will be among those who receive free medical, dental and vision care that day.
STORY SUMMARY: 47 million Americans do not have health insurance. 25 million more are under-insured. In the coal mining towns of Appalachia, one of the most impoverished areas of the country, 13.6 million people live without health insurance. Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a nonprofit organization established to provide medical care in third-world countries. But because the cost of health care in the United States has become so high, and the need for care so great, over half of RAM's free clinics are now in the U.S. Every summer, RAM comes to the Wise County Virginia fairgrounds to hold its largest U.S. clinic, providing close to 3,000 people in one weekend with free dental, vision, and medical care. Desperate for this care, people drive hundreds of miles and wait for hours, even days, sleeping in their cars and tents outside the fairgrounds gate. Still, at the end of the weekend, some must be turned away. Most of these people would go without this vital care if it were not for RAM; they simply could not afford it.