Approximately 3,500 people came to the KeyArena Oct. 23-26 for free health care [“At KeyArena, they’re coming by the hundreds for free health care,” Local News, Oct. 23]. Medical, vision or dental services were provided by volunteer medical professionals: doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, social workers, chiropractors, massage therapists, Naturopathics, many general support volunteers, and even trained dogs to help anxious visitors. I was there as a volunteer registered nurse.
Participants waited anywhere from midnight to 6 a.m to get free care. Even after many hours of staying awake, they found it possible to say, “Thank you for this care … and for volunteering!”
Most marginalized people in the U.S lack health care. Many others have insurance, work at one or more jobs, have mental illness, but can’t access health care due to high deductibles and high co-pays. In other words, they can’t afford to use their health insurance. These were some of the individuals I saw.
Community health clinics have low fees but dental or vision care are usually not offered, are unaffordable to most, even with insurance, and yet are essential for health and to function in life.
We can do so much better as a nation and state starting by making sure everyone has the human right of affordable health care.
Lee Gresko, Mountlake Terrace