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4 Aug, 2010 23:41

Uninsured Americans flock to free clinic for healthcare

Uninsured and out of luck, thousands of Washington, DC residents are lining up for something US President Barack Obama promised during the 2008 campaign trail - healthcare for all.

The National Association for Free Clinics, a non-governmental organization came to Washington to provide free healthcare services to the 57,000 uninsured residents of the districts and the tens of thousands of others in metro region. Here, you will not find health insurance cards, too much paper work, or grueling waiting lines, just volunteers, concerned doctors and frustrated patients.

RT correspondent Jihan Hafiz asked on participant why she was here.

"Why should I be here is my question to you… why should I after 46 years of supporting this country? In my name they kill, but in my name, my 25 cents doesn't go to support people like myself, who have no insurance, not because they chose not to, but because they can't afford it," responded Dolly Pearce, an uninsured Washington resident.

The free clinic convention is a national project built by communities from around the country, with a work force of volunteers. This is what Obama's healthcare bill does not provide, in fact, what runs the show here is solely donations, not government spending.

Doctors like Ranie Whitfield are not here for the money. He came from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to lend a hand to the free clinic.

"There is nothing currently in the healthcare bill that supports the safety net, these free clinics are what I call the safety net, what the healthcare bill won't catch. I don’t know if there are any plans for President Obama to include the free clinics in that process. So that is an unfortunate thing because we are actually saving lives and preventing illness in these clinics," said Dr. Whitfield.

Dr. Craig A. Dietz, the Medical Director for the National Association for Free Clinics said, "It shows a true example of what a truly free healthcare system can seem like."

Although she voted for the healthcare bill, Congresswoman Donna Edwards says the healthcare bill still falls short of full coverage for all.

Congresswoman Edwards told RT, “Even though we passed some of the most sweeping healthcare reforms, there is still a huge gap to fill for some of our most vulnerable communities who don't have access to quality healthcare."

However, one uninsured DC resident expressed her frustration about the tedious healthcare bill, saying "Even though President Obama is trying, nothing is going to take place regarding healthcare until 2014. People could die today or tomorrow. I lost my brother to cancer. I lost my great grandmother and my grandmother to cancer… that’s all I have to say."

Unemployed, uninsured and another statistic, seeking medical help from an organization many of these patients say they can rely on more than the government's proposed reforms.

As for the Washington establishment that pressed for the healthcare bill.

"To what? Elect the cheaters, the underground vultures. And we are here without insurance? I want to have them come here for a free clinic and see what it’s like without insurance," said Pearce.