Patrick Ishmael

Over the past few years we have talked a lot about the Volunteer Health Services Act (VHSA), which allows out-of-state medical professionals to more freely provide charitable care in Missouri. As a general matter, one of the priorities of state-based health care reforms must be to remove barriers to accessing care, and the state's decision in 2013 to allow access to free care provided by qualified out-of-state doctors, dentists and other professionals was a very welcome one. Other states would do well to follow the leadership of Missouri and other states in this policy area; in fact, next month Missourians in the St. Louis area will get to see the benefits of VHSA-type reforms, albeit in neighboring Illinois. 

Remote Area Medical, one of the charity clinic pioneers in the United States, will be having a free health care expedition from August 14th through the 16th in East St. Louis, IL. As always, the clinic will be open to the public, and while I haven't heard any indication that the group will be making any historic drone deliveries at this particular event, what is certain is that there will be a lot of people seeking help -- and a lot of people giving up their weekend providing it. That events like RAM's remain necessary in a state like Illinois, which has gone whole hog for Obamacare, is its own commentary. 

But setting that aside for the moment, I think the most important takeaway from the event for all of us is ultimately this: that people should be able to help one another without the undue interference of government. Both Missouri and Illinois deserve kudos for making these sorts of clinics more available to their citizens.

About the Author

Patrick Ishmael
Director of Government Accountability

Patrick Ishmael is the director of government accountability at the Show-Me Institute.