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Thousands of medically uninsured turn out for chance at free health clinic in LA

October 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thousands of people lined up outside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Exposition Park on Monday for a chance to receive free medical care later this week.

CareNow/LA will host a free clinic from Oct. 20-23, where dental, medical and vision care will be given to those who are uninsured.

In anticipation of a high level of demand, wristbands were handed out in advance. Some camped out overnight in sleeping bags to be sure they were among the first to receive them.

"I haven't had a job in the last seven years, so I don't have any insurance. There's no low-income insurance that I qualify for," said Carol Hickman of Los Angeles.

Officials said about 4,800 wristbands were distributed by 4 p.m. Monday.

"It's really sad. There are all these people out here that do need help," said Long Beach resident Anna Campbell, adding that even with a job, her medical insurance does not cover the kind of dental work she needs.

"I have my wisdom teeth that are impacted and I have two root canals that I need done," she said. "It's over $6,000 worth of dental work. I just can't afford to pay that myself."

Dr. Mehmet Oz will join more than 800 medical volunteers for the clinic.

"I am honored to be a part of this CareNow Clinic, which provides medical care to people who need it the most," said Dr. Oz. "Making sure that we provide medical care for everyone who needs it should be top of mind for our nation."

Last year, a similar clinic at the Sports Arena by CareNow/LA drew about 6,000 people.

"You hear about 20 percent, 25 percent without insurance in L.A. County, a couple million people, this is what it looks like," said CareNow president Don Manelli, of the long, winding line.


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