Many health care activists, myself included have longed dreamed of the day when a Free Health Clinic would set up within blocks of the United States Capitol. We believed it would be a seminal and historic moment for those we elect to represent us, to see working Americans (uninsured and priced out of the healthcare market) receive long over due medical attention on the floor of a convention center--this time in our nation's capital.
The heroes at the National Association of Free Clinics have responded.
On August 4th in Washington D.C. the National Association of Free Clinics holds a Free Clinic at the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.
An invitation from Nicole Lamoureux the executive director of the Free Clinic Association went to every member of Congress and the United States Senate. 535 in total. 435 Members of the House and 100 members of the U.S. Senate.
To date, Nicole has had one response, from Donna Edwards. Donna is coming on August 4th.
If you refuse to understand what this says about our government and our country, then with due respect, you're being willfully blind.
I live in New York, this why I am focusing on getting one of our Senators to come on August 4th.
Through Todd Beeton, Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-NY) internet outreach director (who I must add has been a real pleasure to work with, though I am gleaning his hands are tied), I have been very diligently trying to get Gillibrand to commit to attending for an hour on August 4th. Thus far, I have nothing to report, despite Todd's great efforts. But I will remain hopeful until the last minute, or until I hear conclusively otherwise.
Gillibrand who was appointed by David Paterson (the unelected Governor of New York) to fill Hillary Clinton's seat, is facing the voters for the first time this November and again in 2012. If Senator Gillibrand is unable to make an hour in her schedule to drive a few blocks from the Capitol to the convention center on August 4th, that will then become our reality vis a vis Ms. Gillibrand in 2012. In 2012, voters in New York will decide whether or not this is a piece of her history that we care about.
[NOTE: In a comment, someone incorrectly said my request to Ms. Gillibrand was an attack. Quite the contrary, if Ms. Gillibrand attends, she would be making history as the first U.S. Senator to attend a Free health Clinic to see first hand the realities of our collapsed healthcare system]
And if you don't believe me about how things work in our great democracy, check this out. These politicians can make time to meet with lobbyi$t$, any day, any moment, any hour, but just can't find an hour to see the reality of our broken healthcare system.
If you feel as I do, that your Senator should at least pretend to be
concerned interested and stroll in to the Free Clinic for an hour or so, please call them and make your feelings known.
This is what Nicole wrote to me in her email. Why aren't they coming? They're not coming because the insurance industry got everything it wanted. The deal is done. Nothing to see here, let's just move on.
It is the hope of the National Association of Free Clinics that all Members of Congress, both the House and Senate, will make time and visit the Walter E Washington Convention Center on August 4th. These large scale free clinics highlight the work that free clinics and other safety net providers give every day to America's uninsured. While the historical legislation has passed and the battle for quality health care is far from over
Why is David Sirota correct? Very simply because sick people, uninsured, underinsured Americans, have no lobbyists, and no money to donate to the politicians to get their attention and their votes. This is why not one (except for Donna Edwards) has agreed to come to the Free Clinic on August 4th.
Nicole Lamoureux graciously emailed me a copy of the letter she sent and gave me permission to publish it in its entirety.
The National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC) will be holding a one-day free health clinic for the uninsured on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. This C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) free clinic, sponsored by the NAFC, is not just for the sick, but also for anyone who is uninsured and has not seen a doctor recently. All participants in the clinic will receive preventive primary medical care and will be connected to the area’s safety net providers.
The NAFC would like to invite you and your staff to attend the clinic at any time that works in your schedule between the hours of 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Wednesday August 4, 2010.
Over 8,000 uninsured people have received medical care at similar free clinics that have been sponsored by the NAFC in Houston TX, New Orleans LA, Little Rock AR, Kansas City MO, Hartford CT and Atlanta GA. These events have been documented by the Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, CNN and MSNBC. The Washington DC event will also be a focus of the national press.
Many people who attended the six previous free clinic events found that they had health issues they previously did not know they had. For example, at the one-day free clinic in Little Rock, AK on Nov. 21, 2009, doctors found that 90 percent of the more than 1,000 patients had three or more life-threatening conditions, such as cardio-vascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and pulmonary disease. Similar results were reported among more than 1,000 patients at the free clinics in New Orleans on Nov. 14 and the 1,800 patients in Houston on Sept. 26.
Most importantly, these one-day free health clinics highlight and celebrate the amazing work that free clinics and other safety net provide around the country on a daily basis. The clinics also connect the uninsured and underserved with safety-net providers such as free clinics, sliding scale clinics and federally qualified health centers that are located close to where the uninsured and underserved live so they may receive regular treatment on an ongoing basis. Often many of the people who come to these clinics are completely unaware of the resources available to them. These clinics are a way to get uninsured people connected to this network. The NAFC has obtained medical malpractice coverage for medical volunteers and the D.C. Board of Health has approved this event.
The NAFC hopes that you will take some time out of your day to come to this clinic.
For more information please contact Nicole Lamoureux, Executive Director of the National Association of Free Clinics at email@example.com or at 703-xxx-xxxx, or Kerry Thompson, NAFC Senior Director of Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your consideration of this invitation to visit the NAFC C.A.R.E. Clinic at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on August 4, 2010 anytime between 11:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m.
There's another free clinic scheduled forNew Orleans on August 31st and September 1st if finances permit, I will try to go this this one as well.
I will be in Washington DC on August 4th to tell the stories of Americans who cannot access healthcare and rely on the Free Clinics Association to provide them with something--anything.
I will of course let you about any politicians who decide to show up.
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