tv Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien NBC December 15, 2019 5:00am-5:31am PST
>> right now on matter of fact... >> we ask one question. where does it hurt? >> people line up a day in advance for free health care just outside the nation's capitol... soledad: how are you a federal employee who's struggling to get basic health care? >> plus is america ready for a third party? >> both parties have just essentially given up on parts of the country. >> when you take a group of elementary students in this country and you ask them to close their eyes and visualize what a farmer is, it doesn't look like me. >> how she turned her passion for farming into a full-time profession. soledad: i'm soledad o'brien. welcome to matter of fact. many people delay getting health care because the cost is a growing problem for families in
the u.s. a recent gallup poll found one fourth of americans say they or a family member delayed treatment for a serious medical condition because they couldn't afford it. that's where volunteer health clinics, like "remote area medical" or "ram" are stepping up to fill the gap. ram, and its volunteer doctors, have provided more than 785- thousand patients with free medical care since 1985. and the number of individuals served has more than doubled just in the last six years. at a recent two-day clinic in suitland, maryland, near washington, d.c., people lined up outside in the cold waiting for care and once inside, they were grateful for the help. >> at least somebody cares. with the big government, they don't care. especially if you can't afford it. you go to a hospital, which i've had many times, and i get these outrageous bills. but i have to go to the
hospital. i don't have a choice. soledad: jeff eastman is the ceo of remote area medical. thanks for joining me. walk me through how it works. how do people find out that you're going to be coming to their area? how early do they start lining up? jeff: it starts out what we call the community host model, where someone in that community stands up and says we want to bring ram through our community. from there, it's a process at headquarters. we come out, take a look at the area and we help recruit volunteers in that area. soledad: when do you open the doors? like in suitland, where we were, people were lined up through the parking lot. it was quite cold. i know you open the doors pretty quickly. jeff: they started lining up the day before. it's not uncommon when we set up on thursday, for people to start lining up the day before. they get the numbers passed out to them, usually around 3:00 in the morning. i've got great volunteers. soledad: so once you get a
number, that is your order. jeff: first come, first serve. we asked no i.d. soledad: i was going to ask you. you just tell the doctor how you're feeling it. jeff: we ask one question. where does it hurt? soledad: you started the organization in 1985. what's the difference that you're seeing in the kinds of ailments people have from, let's say, 1985 to today? jeff: let's go back about six years. people come to their immediate pain, which is dental and vision. there was a majority of the knee when people first came to it. however, in this last year, we're seeing more and more people surely want their immediate miseries or pain taken care of, which is dental vision. we've also increased on the medical side. we have more people coming, women for mammograms, mental health, wound care, just general medicine. soledad: so what does that tell you? what's your assessment of that shift?
is it that the health care net is failing people, that they have to help that a clinic shows up in the neighborhood to give them basic medical care? jeff: well, what that tells me is what we're doing is not working. you know, you and i both have insurance. i doubt very much that we have health care. if you take a look at a minimum, a person earning a minimum wage of approximately $15,000 here in the u.s., if they are lucky enough to have insurance, they have the $2500 deductible, that 80-20 co-pay. so for them, it's almost impossible to get to it. jeff: in suitland, i was surprised to see how diverse it was. i mean, it was in every way, right? it was old people and young people and babies and black people and white people. i mean, it was everybody. jeff: exactly right. it doesn't make a difference where we go, whether we're down on the texas border, florida, one of the richest counties we
have in the country, orange county, california. it's people all across. it's working people. soledad: how are you a federal employee who's struggling to get basic health care? jeff: yeah, whether you're a federal employee, you don't have health care, or through your employer. it's just not working. soledad: i'm always divided. is this amazing, because it is amazing, but is it also a band-aid on what needs to be a policy solution? right. like you're solving a problem and it's amazing that people volunteer their time. i mean, an incredibly helpful for the people who need the care. but there's part of me that's like, we could just fix health care in america. jeff: it's a tough question. you know, when you take a look at a high level -- it is a hard decision for our policymakers to figure out. till then, we're gonna have great neighbors helping neighbors. we've had 135,000 volunteers
over the year, have treated over 800,000 patients. until that solution is out there, we'll be there to fill that gap and make that difference. soledad: are you optimistic? i mean, is the goal that one day people will be like, we don't need you here? i'm all covered. we have access to health care. jeff: you know, they'd be a great goal to retire from leading this organization. problem has been solved. we're going back to our roots. we're going back to those jungles in south america. we're going back to latin america. we're gonna go out and make a difference in the rest of the world because the us has got this covered. it has been so nice to have you. jeff: thank you so much. just one more thing. if you if you'd like to volunteer with us, it is real simple. go to ramusa.org. you don't have to be a doctor. what's amazing is that for every dollar that's donated, we deliver three the care.
$10,000 becomes $30,000. soledad: worthwhile investment. nice to have you. >> coming up, is america ready for a major third party? of our democracy. >> plus, d.c.'s known for it's monuments and museums, but what about its farms? and america's in debt, deep debt. soledad: 23 trillion can be hard to imagine, so i'll try to break it down for you. to imagine, so i'll try to break it down for you. those darn seatbelts got me all crumpled up. that's ok! hey, guys! hi mrs. patterson... wrinkles send the wrong message. sorry. help prevent them before they start with new downy wrinkleguard.
soledad: from ross perot to ralph nader, presidential elections often include a third party candidate who tries to do what no one has been able to do: upset america's two party system. it's been more than one hundred years since a third party candidate outperformed one of the major party candidates. it was theodore roosevelt back in 1912. he ran on a progressive ticket and finished second, behind democrat woodrow wilson. despite the fact that no third
party candidate has ever won, a recent study found that 60% of americans think the u.s. needs another party. lee drutman was the co-author of that study and he has a new book coming out called, "breaking the two party doom loop: the case for multi-party democracy in america." it is so nice to have you. i'm almost afraid to ask, what's the doom loop? lee: the doom loop is what we're experiencing every day in washington. escalating partisan warfare, increasingly aggressive politics, zero sum, everything about winning the next next election, everything high stakes, all or nothing. and it's destroying the very fabric of our democracy. a sense of shared shared rules, shared norms, shared facts, even. and if it continues, i think it will break our democracy. soledad: let's talk about that poll for a second. 60% said that they thought that there should be a new third party. but did they agree on what that third party should stand for or represent? lee: no.
people some people want a party that's more liberal than democrats. some people want to party in the middle. some people want a party that's more conservative than the republicans. and that's one of the reasons why we don't have a third party emerge. another reason, perhaps more central reason is that we have electoral rules that that make it very hard for third parties to get a foothold. because we have winner take all elections, which tend towards just two parties. soledad: when i hear 68%, i think that's a percentage that's higher than the percentage that votes. in this country. so is that really a reflection of just people who are annoyed with politics generally? i mean, or are they saying, hey, listen, if there was a third party candidate, we'd suddenly see the percentage of people who vote in america, which is somewhere on 50 percent, go up really alive? lee: some of it is just frustration with politics. and that number has steadily increased over the last several decades.
it's a frustration. most people will vote for one of the two parties, but they might say, well, that's the lesser of two evils. that's not the party that that that i really wish i were supporting. but it's just when you have two options, you have to pick one if pyou want to vote. i think the share of americans voting would certainly go up if there were more parties. the u.s. is a very low turnout country. if you compare us to most other advanced democracies and in countries with more parties, turnout tends to be higher because they're more likely for people to find a party that they feel represents them well. and elections also tend to be more competitive when you have a proportional voting system because every vote matters, it's not just if you're in a swing district or a swing state that your vote matters, which is the case for a lot of americans. and you also have more parties competing in more places, trying to get more people to vote. a lot of parts of this country have been written off by one or the other party.
democrats have closed up offices throughout rural and exurban america. republicans have closed up offices in urban and and certain suburbs. both parties have just essentially given up on parts of the country. soledad: what are your predictions for the parties, the two parties that we have in the two party system that we have as the left seems to be pushing all the candidates more to the left and the right seems to be pushing a lot of the candidates more to the right. does that just continue? lee: i think it does continue. you know, it's almost not even left and right, but it's more in terms of policy, but it's just more aggressive political hardball. you know, republicans have pushed really hard on gerrymandering. there's huge fights on on who gets to vote in this country. basic rule of democracy questions. we are we are having these very
contested issues over the rules of the game, which and if we can't agree on the rules of the game, we don't have a democracy. soledad: the book is called breaking the two party doom loop. it comes out on january 2nd. lee, nice to see you. thanks for talking with us. lee: great to be with you. >> when we come back, meet the woman changing the face of farming. class, you probably hear it every day. yet millions of people still don't know what it means.
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there are more than 23-million people living in what are known as "food deserts". these are areas that are more than 10 miles from a supermarket, where many of the residents are living in poverty, and don't have access to a car. it makes finding fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy affordable food options difficult. washington, d.c. is one area struggling with food insecurity. more than 11-percent of the city is considered a food desert. but community organizers are trying to change that, one small urban farm at a time. gail: when you take a group of elementary students in this country and you ask them to close their eyes and visualize what a farmer is, it doesn't look like me. soledad: and so gail taylor went on a mission to change that perception. creating this space, the three part harmony farm right in the heart of washington, d.c. gail: we are basically like a
greens and roots and earth and flower farm. soledad: here gail, her partners john and cristina along with trainees and volunteers work 6 days a week to cultivate the land. then distribute the produce to a local community-supported- agriculture program or csa. gail: our csa is different because it's urban. so there aren't many farms that can say that their lettuce is being harvested within a bike ride of where like 95 percent of their customers live. soledad: gail says it's also different because it partners with other farms to bring its members a wider range of products. those farms are carefully chosen. gail: none of the contributing farms to our csa are owned by majority cyst gender -- cisgender white men. access to market is a big thing. soledad: it hasn't been easy. gail's quest began in 2011. a trained farmer and a former policy advocate she found this plot of land.
gail: it's a two acre parcel of land that's been owned for over a hundred years by an order of priests. and i approached them about starting a vegetable farm on their property. >> we all have a role to play to increase consumption of healthy food and implement positive soledad: together with church representatives, law students and a local council member she drafted a bill that encouraged people to lease their land to farmers in exchange for tax benefits. the legislation now known as the "d.c. farm bill" passed in 2014 and the three part harmony farm was born. although farming in the city hasn't been without challenges. including a lack of space. gail: sometimes there's overflow. my living room has had a thousand pounds of potatoes in it at some point this year. like all the winter squash that we've had, i get 300 pieces
every week. 250 of them end up in my living room. >> this is all set. soledad: to keep the quality on point, the vegetables are distributed on the same day they're harvested. which means gail and her team have to work quickly. the tables are laid out and the members have started arriving. some are here purely for the vegetables. >> they've convinced me to try these radishes, and given me a really easy way to cook it. soledad: others, with a deeper purpose. >> black women farmers are a dying population. having land that you can actually grow on in the black community is now down to less than 2 percent in the nation. so for all the reasons, it's important. soledad: as the market wraps up, the day winds down. it's been 13 hours of non-stop work for gail and the team. but one with a simple reward.
>> my dream is for myself and my staff to wake up and be able to do this and only this, to grow food for people we care about, to nourish our neighbors, and have that be enough. >> coming up next, it just keeps growing and growing. soledad: at the beginning of the year, the national debt was just under 22 trillion dollars. >> now it's more than that? does congress care? california phones offers free specialized phones... like cordless phones. - ( phone ringing ) - big button, and volume-enhanced phones. get details on this state program. visit right now or call during business hours.
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a trillion to that number. and it's still climbing. 23 trillion can be hard to imagine. so we'll break it down for you. that is about $187,000 owed by every taxpayer. surprised you don't hear more politicians talking about the deficit? don't be. most americans say it's not a top priority. according to a recent pew research poll, only 48 percent of americans surveyed said reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority for the president and congress. that number is 24% lower than when pew did the same survey back in 2013. >> when we return, even after wall to wall coverage, millions of people don't know what the word "impeach" really means? what about you? she wanted to move someplace warm. but he wanted snow for the holidays. so we built a snow globe. i'll get that later. dylan!
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tto harrison, the wine tcollection.. to craig, this rock. i leave these things to my heirs, all 39 million of you, on one condition. that you do everything to preserve and protect them. with love, california. soledad: and finally, the word that sent people reaching for their laptops and phones all year was the nonbinary pronoun
they. the merriam-webster dictionary crowned "they" the word of the year for 2019. "they" as a common pronoun has been around for about 600 years. but merriam-webster just added the definition of "they" as a nonbinary pronoun in september. non-binary refers to a single person who consciously does not identify as either male or female. searches for the word increased by 313 percent in the past year. it spiked during paris fashion week in january, which featured nonbinary model oslo grace. and in april when congresswoman pramila jayapal talked about her child being gender nonconforming. it also spiked in september, when british singer-songwriter sam smith, who recently came out as nonbinary, asked to be referred to as they/them. other top searched words for the year were quid pro quo, impeach and egregious. that's it for this edition of matter of fact. we'll see you next week.
robert handa: hello, and welcome to "asian pacific america." i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. we start with one of the most important issues facing asian americans and pacific islanders: the 2020 census. why it's so crucial the community is involved and gets counted. then i once mentored a young man in tv news, now on a mission to get his own talk show; hopefully not mine. toan lam is back to tell us how it's going. next, author, model, and former pageant queen ashley chu is here to talk about her multi-faceted life and her newest book, the next segment of her travel series, "550,000 miles." and the spectacular stage show, shen yun show, is coming back to the bay, bringing the history of china to life. all that on our show today.