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Crowds. See My Day at the 2008 Remote Area Medical (RAM)
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Remote Area Medical Exposes Government Hypocrisy Again in 2014

by Lewis Loflin

The weekend of July 20, 2014 saw our annual spectacle of Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Wise Virginia. Over 2500 people attended the three-day event seeking mainly medical, dental, and vision services unavailable to the multitudes of impoverished residents.

The value of the free care given at RAM was valued at approximately $6.3 million. But also present as in previous years was our illustrious Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. This hypocrite was present moaning and whining about Republicans not funding Medicaid expansion.

First of all most of what was sought at RAM was dental which isn't covered by Medicaid anyway. Nor are eye exams. As for the 124 child patients they should have been covered for the most part by Medicaid as it presently exists.

Yet Gov. McAuliffe assisted regional Republicans in pilfering $100 million in Virginia taxes to underwrite the costly Falls retail development in Bristol Virginia. Previous Virginia governors such as present state senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner oversaw the waste of about $100 million for every conceivable form of political pork and corporate welfare imaginable.

Just in the town of Wise Virginia alone this includes a $30 million convocation center for a college, a $10 million energy research center that has so far produced nothing, and numerous tourism venues that have been here for decades producing nothing and 2014 are still producing no discernible value to the community. Let's not forget the $12 million or more being spent to refurbish the failed Wise Inn.

Remote area medical several years ago was located at the Wise Airport next door to a multimillion dollar industrial Park that produced little more than a call center contracting to the government. As I understand the company has been firing and laying off its workers and was accused by some of shifting those jobs to a new $25 million industrial park in nearby Buchanan County in order to pay less than what they do and Wise.

There were complaints from politicians that this mass show of poverty next to what they proclaim is a business success was an embarrassment they wanted moved. Thus the spectacle was moved to the Wise Fairgrounds.

As for Gov. McAuliffe for the $100 million that he helped Republicans pilfer for their corporate friends and based on the $6.3 million in services from a private charity to serve 2500 residents the money could have served the needs of almost 40,000 residents.

This in the long term would save the state a fortune. By not dealing with all of these chronic problems such as vision, dental, etc. will often lead to disability, loss of time from work (assuming there's any work to be had), and numerous other costs to the state later on.

The press also claimed the large turnout was due to recent jobs losses. That's silly because there has been these massive turnouts for the last 12 years I've covered this event.

The ridiculous theory of showering the rich with subsidies and corporate welfare somehow benefits the public and reduces poverty has been proven totally false in this broken and impoverished Appalachian community - and Democrats are as much a part of the problem as Republicans.

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