"What caught my eye was Scotland's switch to free prescriptions for all its patients
, on the very day when England's rate goes up 20p to £7.40 a pop. Wales and Northern Ireland have already gone free, so the contrast within the British NHS family is now a sharp one."
"The pharmaceutical industry has thousands of lobbyists in Washington, DC, that lobby Congress and protect their interests. The pharmaceutical industry spent $855 million, more than any other industry, on lobbying activities from 1998 to 2006
, according to the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity."
"The patients are encouraged to pray while awaiting treatment. The medical staff introduce God as part of what the organisation describes as holistic care.
"We find a lot of people who come to us with a medical need but wouldn't set foot in the door of a church," said the mobile clinic's nurse, Lynn Hersey. "They want to check and see if someone who is a Christian can be trusted with one little thing, if they're going to shove Jesus down their throat because they ate the bait and came in through the door."
But there's another kind of evangelising at work too, involving a web of interests more focussed on Mammon than the Almighty. Much of Good Samaritan's work is funded by hospitals trying to keep patients who cannot pay out of emergency rooms, where they must be treated for any immediate health crisis by law whether they can pay or not. Those same hospitals have an interest in promoting charity as an alternative to President Obama's plans for government to take the lead in getting healthcare to the poor and the middle classes likely to be bankrupted by catastrophic illness.
Good Samaritan makes no secret of where it stands on the issue; the government has no business involving itself in healthcare.
"Governments treat you like a number," said the organisation's director, Dr John Crouch. "I really believe that there has to be a way to cover the folks who can't get care at all, and I think one of the ways is what we're doing. Maybe there's a different way of funding us, besides just funding us through our donations. We're emphasising that the more all the time."
Hersey concedes that the present system can be a tragedy for the poor.
What happens to someone with a chronic disease and no insurance? A woman with cancer, say, who might get the surgery she needs thanks to Good Samaritan but not the medicines afterwards. Hersey hesitates.
"They go without," she said.
You mean they die?