Virginia is one of 19 states refusing federal dollars to close the healthcare “coverage gap” for people not poor enough for Medicaid, but too poor for anything else. Yet at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Southwest Virginia, for one late-July weekend each year, there is a small glimmer of hope. For three days, a non-profit organisation known as Remote Area Medical (RAM) builds a pop-up clinic – the largest of its kind in the US – from the ground up, and serves more than 2,000 patients from more than 15 different states.
"If you think health care in America is bad, you should look at mental health care," says Steve Leifman, who works as a special advisor on criminal justice and mental health for the Florida Supreme Co " Fifty years ago, the U.S. had nearly 600,000 state hospital beds for people suffering from mental illness. Today, because of federal and state funding cuts, that number has dwindled to 40,000. When the government began closing state-run hospitals in the 1980s, people suffering from mental illness had nowhere to go. Without proper treatment and care, many ended up in the last place anyone wants to be." Of course, it's not just a problem confined to the US.
Health-care costs shoot up, millions in U.S. left gasping "...there are signs of growing frustration. The Gallup Organization reported in January that for the first time since 1992, when Americans are polled about urgent health problems facing the country, the cost of health care is No. 1, ahead of issues such as cancer, obesity, and smoking..."