Faces of the Uninsured

There are 48.6 million uninsured people in the United States -- or 15.7% of the population. Millions more are underinsured, paying for high-deductible plans with few benefits. Either way, a huge part of our country lives without regular access to basic medical services -- and many of those people are rural residents.

I recently saw a short video called “Faces of the Uninsured” that illustrates this situation in a personal way. It takes place in Harriman, Tennessee where people drove long distances and waited in line for hours, and even days, to get a tooth pulled, receive an eye exam or ask a doctor a question. These free services were made temporarily available by Remote Area Medical (RAM).

RAM was founded to provide medical services to remote areas of the developing world. But they recently re-focused their resources on serving uninsured and underinsured people in the United States, many of them from rural places.

Filmmaker Evan Vucci said, “Looking around I couldn’t shake the feeling of disbelief that this was happening in the world’s richest nation”.

“We're buying time until the politicians can fix this health care crisis,” said one RAM volunteer in the video.

You can help rural Americans in similar positions by raising your voice. Are you uninsured or underinsured? Share your story, and we’ll take it to Congress. You can make a difference. Contact kats@cfra.org to find out how.