Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hell Freezes Over

[posted by Callimachus]

News report:

(AP) Hundreds of people still without health insurance in areas hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina lined up before dawn Sunday for the start of a weeklong event offering free medical care.

Bundled up against the chilly wind, people began arriving at 2 a.m. outside the tents and doublewide trailers offering free care in eastern New Orleans. By the time the first 50 had been called into the registration tent, they numbered in the hundreds.

Penny Anderson, her daughter, and three small grandchildren came to see a dentist. "My daughter went online to try to get health insurance for me and my husband," she said. "It was $799 a month! That's a house note!"

The health fair is open to anyone from the greater New Orleans area, but is specifically aimed at those who no longer have insurance, are unemployed or who otherwise cannot pay for regular health care. By the end of the week, 10,000 patients are expected to be seen.

Read it like they write it. If you get this far into a news story and one of the "Ws" is still missing, there's something they're embarrassed to tell you. If we're running a story tomorrow about a court ruling that we missed last week, we're sure going to bury the "when" down in the text. No sense saying "last Tuesday" in the lede and tipping off the reader that we were asleep at the switch.

What's missing above is the "who" -- who is running this much-needed health clinic?

The project is a collaboration by Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing International and Remote Area Medical, which organizes volunteer medical treatment in remote parts of the United States and the world.

I've probably never written a good word about Pat Robertson in my life. But I'm about to. Good job, Pat, and everyone involved. And shame on President Bush for not finding room in his State of the Union speech for a word about the Gulf Coast. It's a perfect issue for the bully pulpit.

Labels: , ,