SACRAMENTO, Calif. — "Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story" is touring film festivals across the United States. It tells the story of Stan Brock a man that dedicated his life to giving people access to free healthcare.
He started a non-profit called Remote Area Medical (RAM) which holds pop-up free healthcare clinics across the country. One of those clinics happened at Cal Expo in 2012 and is featured in the film.
Linda Kreir sought out care at that clinic.
“I hadn’t had readers in seven years because my insurance only covered one pair of glasses,” Kreir said. “It was expensive and I couldn’t afford it. I’m on disability.”
Krier said she met many others facing hardship. Some needed teeth pulled, preventative care and heart checks. One patient is still stuck in her mind nearly 10 years later.
“A little boy who was getting his glasses and he goes, 'I can see!' And I just bawled,” she said.
Volunteer Blanca Ruiz worked as an English-Spanish translator at the clinic. She said she was right in the middle of it all helping doctors and patients connect.
“I got to see the people, hear their stories and it's tragic. Its very sad,” Ruiz said. “Without insurance, it is very, very, very hard to afford medical care here in the U.S.”
Ruiz recalls how people waited for hours in the rain for the clinic to open.
"It was raining and all these people had been there all night or out there in the rain, cold, and getting wet under little umbrellas sitting on the sidewalk," she said. "Just waiting to enter the clinic at 5 o’clock in the morning.”
Now looking back 10 years later, Kreir, Ruiz and the film’s director said they don’t believe healthcare has changed in America.
“For people on the ground with healthcare needs, nothing changed. They were in just as bad of a situation in 2012 as they were in 2018," director Paul Michael Angell said. "But what did change was I think the American people opened up to the idea of the universal free health care system.”
According to the California Health Care Foundation, in 2019, one in three Californians relied on the state’s low-income health insurance plan.
In March, President Joe Biden announced the enrollment period for Obamacare would extend through most of the summer. Americans now have until August to sign up, which could mean more access for people like those in the film.
“I’m not sure everybody knows that there are people who cannot afford to access healthcare at all," Angell said. "It could be people who work in the service industries, in restaurants, who stack shelves."
Krier noted the same thing when she went to the RAM clinic back in 2012.
“These were people who were middle class, they were teachers, people who were self-employed,” Krier said. “These were real people who were really really struggling.”
To watch “Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story,” the Cleveland Film Festival will be showing the film through April 20. Click HERE to watch the film.
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