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On a sunny Saturday at the county fairgrounds in this Appalachian community, the gaps in the American health care system were on vivid display.

Lured by the promise of a weekend of free checkups, surgeries and dental care, thousands of people braved the summer heat to get care they otherwise could not afford.

Only a few hours drive from the heart of the current health care debate in Washington DC I found thousands of people who are left out under the current system.  What I saw was something I would have expected to see in an undeveloped country: people so desperate for the most basic medical treatment that they slept in fields just to see a doctor.  The people I talked to throughout the day were almost all working people struggling to make it through these tough economic times with no other options to get basic medical treatment.      

Many of those families would have much better access to medical help under the reform plans being debated in Congress. But a close look at the most recent data indicates even the most sweeping proposals are likely to leave some of them outside the safety net.

About 50 million people in the United States are now uninsured, according to new figures from the Congressional Budget Office. If an overhaul of the system is launched this year, as many as 17 million people would still be without health insurance by the end of the decade, according to preliminary analyses by the CBO.

For the full report check the rest of the story on Huffington Post here.

Originally posted to lagan on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 09:04 AM PDT.

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