03/28/2008 02:46 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

That Other "60 Minutes" Story: About 47 Million Uninsured Americans Desperate For Health Care

Hey, did you see that shocking video clip from 60 Minutes the other night? The one about an issue pivotal about the current Democratic campaign? The one that left you gaping at the screen, incredulous and offended that this sort of thing is still happening in this country? No, I'm not talking about that so-called "gotcha" moment where Hillary Clinton was asked — twice — if she believed Barack Obama was a Muslim and answered — twice — that no, she did not — I'm talking about the shocking report about America's uninsured, and how a relief organization that airdrops makeshift medical centers with doctors and medications in remote locations along the Amazon is finding an unquenchable demand here in the U.S.

Scott Pelley reported on Remote Area Medical ("RAM") and filmed a day at a RAM weekend clinic in Knoxville, Tenn. operated by RAM founder Stan Brock. Pelley traces the stories of various patients — many of which drove hundreds of miles to get treatment and camped out, sleeping in cars to make sure they got a spot in line, and many more who were turned away at the end of the weekend because there just wasn't enough time to see everyone who needed help. Per Pelley:

In the expedition to Knoxville, RAM saw 920 patients, made 500 pairs of glasses, did 94 mammograms, extracted 1,066 teeth and did 567 fillings. But when Stan Brock called the last number, 400 people were turned away.

According to the 60 Minutes report, Texas and Ohio alone have nearly seven million of America's 47 million uninsured residents. But, says Pelley, "that's just the start — millions more are underinsured, unable to pay their deductibles or get access to dental care." Here's another sampling:

PELLEY: You created this medical organization designed to go into Third World countries to go into remote places, and now doing 60 percent of your work in urban and rural America, what are we supposed to make of that?

BROCK: For the 50 million or so people in this country, the one thing that is on their mind is 'What if I have a catastrophic event, a car crash, a heart attack? Because I either have no health insurance or I'm underinsured.' And, so this is a very, very weighty thing to be thinking about, knowing that your family is in great jeopardy.

Sort of puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Pity that wasn't the big story that came out of 60 Minutes this week — so far, I haven't seen it mentioned once on cable news, though I've certainly seen a few debates on whether or not Hillary Clinton said in enough ways that she didn't believe that Barack Obama was a Muslim.

Here's the full segment (thanks to CBS News for providing the embed code). Definitely worth a watch.

U.S. Health Care Gets Boost From Charity
[CBS News]

Related, At The Bottom Of This NYT Story About Oprah:
New Role For Oprah, Playing Fairy Godmother On Reality TV

Related On Daily Kos:
Hillary: "I take him at his word," Obama Not a Muslim [Daily Kos]
60 Minutes Shows The Truth About Health Care [Daily Kos]