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Crowds. See My Day at the 2008 Remote Area Medical (RAM)
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Remote Area Medical Wise 2011 Ignores Government Waste

by Lewis Loflin

On July 22 - 24 Wise Virginia will again played host to Remote Area Medical clinic. Every year thousands of the region's poor line up for everything from eye glasses, dental, hearing exams, etc. The value of the three day healthcare is estimated between $1 to $1.5 million dollars and serves 1000s of residents in some years.

I attended this in 2008 and plan to attend July 22nd. I'm not going there for services but to once again see if anything has changed. For the last ten years it has only grown as more and more people desperate for basic services often get turned away. At the same time as much as $100 million has been spent in the Wise area as so-called "economic development" that has nothing to show for it in the way of jobs or anything for the average citizen. In 2010 there were 6869 "patient encounters" serving more than 1,400 people. According to press reports "about 928 prescription eyeglasses were given out, and an additional 135 people had their vision checked."

I was furious when former Governor Tim Kaine, who is running for the Virginia Senate to replace Jim Webb, made a mockery of the entire affair. While parading around in Wise touting President Obama's healthcare package, he would leave and go party to country music at Carter Fold in Hiltons Virginia in neighboring Scott County. He and friends were instrumental in diverting perhaps $1 million to help the wealthy June Carter Cash family fix the family barn he sang and danced in. That was supposed to help these very people.

One can see Gov. Kaine in this You Tube video. This was part of a massive grant farming scam to route economic development dollars into the pockets of the local elite. Carter Fold is part of what is called The Crooked Road better called The Crooked Money Road. The Carters did nothing illegal.

They route millions of tax dollars to failing tourism venues to promote more tourism. Even they admitted these have been here for years, so how does subsidizing them create any new jobs? How many working poor give a damn about harmonica music in an old barn? I've asked this "Crooked Road" gang they helped set up for proof these millions of dollars have produced the promised jobs, etc. They can't produce anything but are still getting grants. The proof is in Remote Area Medical every year.

While the press plays up the occasional person that might show up from Ohio or North Carolina (Wise County is on the Kentucky State line), most I met were local and saw few out of state plates when I was there. To quote, "these services will be provided for the uninsured, underinsured and unemployed, and those who cannot afford to pay," yet nobody asks why there are so many poor in a community awash in government programs.

The simple fact is most jobs in this region are low-paying and often lack benefits. Local government is highly anti-labor recruiting industry on the basis of those very low wage scales while showering them with millions in subsidies. The simple fact is many children, the disabled, and elderly are already on government healthcare through Medicaid and Medicare.

The real losers are those that work that aren't paid enough to afford anything, but earn too much or whatever to qualify. Many just don't want government handouts trying to maintain their dignity. And Obamacare wouldn't really help either as that doesn't pay for dental care or eye glasses which aren't covered. Those are in highest demand at RAM. This is compounded by a very high cost of living relative to very low pay scales.

The following are just the latest in government waste that could have helped the poverty working poor of Wise County:

A $30 million sports complex and convocation center for a college.

$8 million to refurbish the Wise Inn as a historical landmark. It's been shut down and rotting for decades. (pork)

$600,000 is being wasted to rebuild an abandoned fire tower in nearby Jefferson National Forest. (pork)

$7 million is being spent for a "clean coal" research center in Wise. (pork)

None of that will change the situation in Wise County.

To help or donate contact The Health Wagon at (276) 926-2260.
Their website:

Contact the Carter Family at and ask for a list of those new jobs those grants created. As a non-profit they pay no taxes either.

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