Las Vegas Sun

November 27, 2014

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Sun editorial:

Have they no shame?

Some opponents of a free medical clinic disparage people without insurance

A plan to open a medical clinic to serve uninsured people at Clark County’s Paradise Park has run into fierce opposition from nearby residents. Some of these residents claim the clinic would ruin “their” park and “destroy the neighborhood” because “lowlifes” would come for free medical care.

The park, near Eastern and Tropicana avenues, is home to a low-income pediatric dental clinic. As Marshall Allen reported in Saturday’s Las Vegas Sun, the plan’s critics have no complaints about the dental clinic.

The medical clinic, proposed by the nonprofit Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, would serve 50 patients a day by appointment. The county is taking neighbors’ comments into consideration before deciding whether to approve the clinic.

Sadly, some of the criticism has bordered on racism and bias against people without insurance. At a meeting with opponents, members of Volunteers in Medicine were cursed. Dr. Florence Jameson, the group’s leader, was accused of planning to perform abortions at the clinic, which is not true.

One of the volunteers, pharmacist Khanh Pham, tried to relate the need for the clinic by using her experience. When she came to this country as a refugee years ago she was uninsured. She said several residents told her to “go back where she came from.”

Come on, now. Does anyone really think a pharmacist, volunteering to help the community, should leave? Is someone “trash” because he doesn’t have insurance? Let’s be reasonable about this. The county should disregard the vitriol displayed by some of the opponents and consider the clinic solely on its merits.

As for the critics worried about those people without insurance, they should remember that in this economy an increasing number of Nevadans — people just like them — are out of work and without insurance. For all they know, they could be next.

Then what?

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