One Organization’s Free-Market Difference


January 7, 2016 9:38AM

It was refreshing to see Frank Daniels’ editorial in The Tennessean, praising the work of Remote Area Medical (RAM)- an operation founded by Knoxville native Stan Brock that brings critical healthcare services to impoverished areas around the country through free charity care clinics. The volunteer-based physicians that RAM flies into areas nationwide are some of the best in their business and typically arrive to lines of thousands waiting for someone to pull their abscessed tooth, get diagnosed and treated for the flu or strep throat, have their eyes examined, address acute pain, or simply get vaccinated.

There are many things that make an organization like RAM special. Their ability to operate depends solely on borrowed time from the medical profession and the charitable giving of others. They don’t receive any government funding. They don’t ask for anything in return. They don’t shy away from areas many of us wouldn’t set foot in. But often overlooked is the entrepreneurism behind the mission, which developed because one man saw a need and came up with a solution.

In fact, since RAM launched, they’ve faced challenges from many local governments and medical boards looking to bar them from treating impoverished communities based on state licensure laws. Apparently, a leading dentist in Arizona could be a threat to uninsured, low-income patients in New York who’ve never had the opportunity to have their teeth cleaned.

If more people thought like Brock and not like Obama, embraced individual acts of kindness married with forward-thinking solutions, imagine how much better our world would be. We are proud to house RAM in our state and of the work they’re doing to improve the lives of people across the nation. Local, state, and national lawmakers should look to them as an example of what can be done when government gets out of the way, and as a reminder of what they jeopardize when they overregulate and already overregulated marketplace.