Center for Service & Social Action

ObamaCare vs. RAM

Posted by: Lauren Gunderman

Right now I’m itching to learn. About what? Obama Care. Because the truth is that I really don’t understand it, and I’ll readily admit it. I know what my family thinks, I know what my friends think, but I haven’t been able to develop an opinion of my own. The thing is, I keep hearing that Obama Care is going to help the poor by making insurance more affordable, but that everyone will be forced to buy it. From my experience, people really don’t like to be forced to do anything. On the other hand, I’m all for reducing poverty and wiping out social injustices, but at what cost? I investigated by going to RAM yesterday. RAM is awesome: it stands for Remote Area Medical and takes place all over the world (I’m sure you’ve seen the advertisements with Stan Brock, but if not go here and check out the video RAM sets up emergency clinics where the needs are greatest, and Southwestern Virginia, my placement for the summer, makes the list every year. I drove an hour to the Wise County Fairgrounds yesterday, got my volunteer badge, and went to help in the Triage Tent where vitals and medical history were being taken. Waves of people came through the tent, each nurse and assistant saw patient after patient, and then sent them on to the Dental, Vision, and Medical tents. I saw all ages, all ranges of good health and bad health, and I even saw a patient from my internship placement, High Power there! It was nice to see a familiar face and she recognized me too.

Around 10am a patient turned to me and said “I’d take this over Obama Care anyday. This is great!” I was taken off guard and openly told her that I don’t know much about it; then she was swept off to the medical tent. But wait a minute…aren’t those who are un- or under-insured and living in poverty supposed to want Obama Care? Wouldn’t it be easier than waiting in line for hours and only receiving medical care when it is offered, not when it is needed? It seems I still have a lot of learning to do.

Later on I wandered around RAM to look at all the booths and to check out the other tents. There was a pharmacy tent where medicines were being prescribed and a large dental tent, which was by far the most crowded and sought after. People were getting their teeth pulled right there in the middle of the Fair Grounds! Lunches were being handed out to everyone, and I soon stumbled upon a booth where drug abuse was being discussed. It’s amazing to me that no matter where I go in Southwestern Virginia, the drug abuse conversation is there. I talked to the group at the booth, got some information and pamphlets, and then headed home.

I definitely think it’s time I do some research about this 2014 Obama Care.

ps. The picture is of a crowd of people walking into RAM. Oh and Stan Brock, the man who started it all, walked by me yesterday! It was super cool :D

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