What Now, Mr. President?

A U.S. nonprofit founded to give medical care to people in the Amazon rain forest with no access to healthcare is now–mostly giving medical care to Americans who can’t afford healthcare. That nonprofit would be Remote Area Medical, whose temporary free medical treatment center in Kentucky pretty much got mobbed by Americans desperate for medical care.

This desperate scene is what an episode of the BBC’s documentary show Panorama opens with (via The Raw Story). Titled What Now, Mr. President?” this program covers the sad state of healthcare in America for a British audience–an audience that enjoys nationalized healthcare system with a far superior ranking than the U.S..

“What Now, Mr. President?” includes the now-too-familiar profiles of individual Americans who’re suffering with inadequate healthcare and crushing healthcare-related debt–including a woman who’s reduced to living in a tent while getting chemotherapy. However, the program goes further to take a more macro look at our health care crisis. To begin, “What Now, Mr. President?” places the health care debate within the context of economic disparity, where the rich have gotten richer while the number of working poor has gotten bigger.

This helps set the context for the many challenges Obama has in keeping his promise for universal healthcare. After all, the health industry lobby is powerful–and even Obama himself has taken money from that industry.

You can watch “What Now, Mr. President?” on YouTube. The program has been cut into three sections, each about 9 minutes long: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

If, after watching the film, you’re wondering exactly what hoops Obama will have to jump through to make his healthcare a reality, check out Health Care for America Now‘s nifty interactive graphic about a screen length down their “Steps to Win” page. Scroll over the graphics to find out what committees need to pass the healthcare legislation before it comes to a vote on the Senate and House floors, what happens if the Senate and House versions of the legislation are different, and what options Obama will have once the bill gets to his desk.


Ann Rosenberg
Ann rosenberg8 years ago

The British National Health Service has its faults - but anyone with a life threatening disease such as cancer /or heart disease does get the best treatment available in the UK. Sadly this may vary, as those living under a good local health authority may get better treatment - but it is wrong to say that there is a dangerously long waiting list for treatment. I was disgnosed with early breast cancer during a routine screening at the age of 64. Within 3 weeks I underwent an operation followed by many weeks of radiotherapy. I have been on medication ever since and have an annual checkup, If I have any concerns, a phone call to my doctor or the oncology department at the hospital will get me an appointment. Had my cancer been at a more agressive stage, the operation would have been done much sooner. Really serious diseases cannot be effectively treated privately as most people do not have sufficient financial resources and private hospitals may not have the latest hi-tech medical equipment. Private health insurance is best for non-life threatening conditions, which under the NHS will involve a lengthy wait. But at least we in the UK don't have the stress of worrying about how to pay the medical bills - just the inconvenience of having to take our turn. If the US were to set up medical care for all with the option to pay for the frills (private room/gourmet menu), the benefit to the nation would be economically significent. General ill health (including dental health), de

Lauren S.
Lauren S8 years ago

I hate to admit my grown kids had to make a choice due to my financial situation & our gov't. When it was time for college they applied for work/student visas & went overseas. Studying abroad for free & paying their own way in Europe.
They get free health care, benefits where they work ( the kind only dreamed of here). They're both pursuing professional careers & won't have the burden of debt when they get their degrees.
Both are involved with their communities, giving back in time & knowledge. But once they graduate they want to come here, (especially now with Obama in office) to try to improve things here.
One son's in engineering, a daughter's studying economic structure, the other's in health services & all are learning more about green technologies.
America once lead the world in science, education & medical advancements. We've fallen farther than most realize. The world's countries have already begun their journey into the 21st century. We've been shamefully lagging behind.
Our citizens have stood up, mayors, governors & others have taken the future into their own hands, because our gov't for so long has chose profit over people. They've refitted cars, pumped out bio diesel (from used oils), recycled, reused & changed to a greener, healthier lifestyle. The naysayers parroted that changing would be costly, they've been proven wrong! What's expensive is doing nothing & I'm not willing to pay for their mistakes it with our fut

Jan P.
Jan P8 years ago

As a Registered Nurse who works for the largest health care delivery system in the country, I know I could not afford a debilitating chronic disease. I hope nationalized health care takes over long before my twilight years. I'm 53 now.

CJ B8 years ago

It's too bad we can't just turn over our heath care, transportation, banking, environment issues and world hunger to the Swiss. They'd have it taken care of efficiently with the lowest cost and biggest benefit to the most people in the shortest amount of time. The rest of the world could take care of the fun stuff.

Seriously, the Swiss have the best health-care system, everyone can afford it. I've had the honor of living in the US, Switzerland and UK.

The UK provides everyone with health care which is fine for the everyday sort of sickness but if you end up with cancer the waiting list could just possibly kill you.

Many British folks on finding out they have cancer, get private health care, (if they can afford it) 1) to get in to a doctor quickly 2) to get the proper medicines / treatment for their particular cancer that the NHS won't pay for even though it may cure or prolong their life.
There are many pros and cons to this type of health care.

Karen S.
Karen S8 years ago

Why is our government standing around scratching their heads about how to reform healthcare when there are a number of countries in the world with functional health care systems that we could be adapting for use here?...Because they don't want to admit that it will mean removing insurance companies from the picture?

Get the lobbyists OUT!

Kathy Chuparkoff
Kathy Chuparkoff8 years ago

RAM Ohio will hold it's first weekend of free health care in the NE ohio area. This is the Cleveland area. The weekend includes medical, dental, and eye care. It happens the weekend of May 2-3.

The event will be at the Cuyahoga County Fair Grounds in Berea, opening each day at 6:00am.
To watch a video about the event, go to cleveland.com/medical.
Sign up to volunteer as a health care volunteer or general volunteer.
We still need equipment (just a loan or an outright gift).
Cash donations go to:
MobilMed 1 Foundation
2026 Murray Hill Rd., Suite 3
Cleveland, OH 44106.
For more information go to ramohio.org.

See you there!

Establish a Health Care Commission:
Design a world class American Health Care System

• Most importantly, and not likely to be addressed in the stimulus bill, we cannot compete economically in a global economy without finally addressing health care and retirement issues. Until we make people financially secure in these basic concerns, our country will fail.
• I join with many organizations in supporting a National Health Plan that is
o a basic plan throughout the lifespan
o universal
o not-for-profit
o free
o with access to any licensed health care provider (see Physicians for a National Health Program)
o paid for by a National Value Added Tax

Why a Health Care Commission?

This discussion has been ongoing for 100 years. Health care plans such as H.R. 676 and H.R. 15 disappear into subcom