by Pa Rock
Mary Landrieu, a United States Senator from Louisiana, has been in the news quite a bit lately. Polls show that the people of Louisiana favor a national health insurance program, but Senator Landrieu, an astute political animal and daughter of the infamous ex-mayor of New Orleans, Moon Landrieu, has an election coming up and she is not too sure about those polls.
(Okay, that was a bit unfair of me because all mayors of New Orleans, past and present, generate some degree of infamy.)
Last Saturday the National Association of Free Clinics - in association with MSNBC - held a free health care clinic in New Orleans, and the results were quite disturbing. Over one thousand people showed up for the free health screenings. Ninety-percent of those in attendance received two or more diagnoses, 82% had life-threatening illnesses, and four had to be taken to hospitals immediately on stretchers. Many of those seen at the clinic had not had any medical care since before Hurricane Katrina devastated their city and their lives.
One nurse who attended as a patient was interviewed on television. He worked for two different hospitals, and because he could not find a "full-time" position, he had no health insurance. The nurse said that he had not been to a doctor for his own medical care in over five years. (That's how Wal-Mart does it. Keep those wage slaves employed on a part-time basis so you don't have to pay those pesky benefits.)
Senator Landrieu was invited to attend the free clinic to visit with her constituents and get a firsthand view of the very real health care crisis that exists in her state and her city - but she declined due to "scheduling conflicts." She was also invited onto the television show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, to discuss the results of the clinic, but she was unavailable for that also.
While Mary Landrieu may not yet be certain which way the political winds are blowing, that is not the case with Republican Congressman Joseph Cao who represents most of New Orleans in the House of Representatives. Mr. Cao was the only Republican to vote for the comprehensive health care package recently passed by the House. Joe knows, Mary, Joe knows. Wake up and smell the chicory coffee!
(Senator Landrieu was in the news today when it was revealed that she inexplicably wrote a check to the United States Treasury from her campaign fund for $25,300. Either she is an exceptionally concerned citizen with altruistic motives, or she is trying to get in front of an ethics probe. My money is on the latter.)
The National Association for Free Health Clinics and MSNBC will hold another big clinic this Saturday in Little Rock, Arkansas, where Senator Blanche Lincoln, another Democrat, is also sitting on the health care fence. Will Senator Lincoln show up at the clinic and meet her constituents - and listen to their real life health care horror stories? That is what a good Senator, one who is truly concerned about the health of her constituents, would do.
Make your donation or pledge your time at: www.freeclinics.us (I made mine this evening.)