Politics of health

"Politics of health" Continued...

Issue: "2010 Election: The Governors," Oct. 23, 2010

With these risks a part of increased federal regulations, nonprofit clinics, like Kidman's family center in Sioux Falls, may end up being the best option to fill the medical void in some communities.

Bible verses decorate Destiny's waiting room as Christian music fills the air. Two churches support the clinic, which provides for the area's poor on a sliding scale based on how much each patient can afford. In five years, the clinic has treated 5,000 patients. Kidman says donations keep the place afloat. They don't accept federal funds: Too many strings are attached, he says.

Kidman, who has made numerous trips to other countries for medical missions, says countries with state-sponsored healthcare systems often lack the resources and personnel to provide needed care. But the people there eventually become used to long waits and substandard care where not much is expected but the very basics. When those behind Destiny prepared to open its doors, locals initially gave the team a lukewarm reception. "The community said they didn't think we were necessary," Kidman recalled. "Certainly we must already be taking care of the poor somehow," they assumed. Destiny's success demonstrates that those needs were not being met, and the question now is whether they will continue to be under the new law.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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