It's not just rock stars who go on tour.
A group from the California Nurses Association has been on the Medicare for All California bus tour since June 19, stopping at different cities along the way to offer free health care screenings and host town hall meetings aimed at educating people on the state of health care.
The tour hits South L.A. on Tuesday, July 10 at the office of S.C.O.P.E. starting at 3 p.m. Folks who are interested are invited to come by for free blood pressure and blood glucose readings, as well as a consultation with a participating nurse. A doctor will also be present for further referrals if necessary.
Donna Smith, the national organizer for Medicare for All for the nurses association, said the state of health care in places like South L.A. is pretty dire.
"Obviously what we see in South L.A. or urban areas in general, and especially in the areas that are not as wealthy in resources, is that people have a very difficult time accessing quality care," she said. "It can be anything from a lack of insurance to the working poor who may have jobs and make just enough to not qualify for Medicaid, Medi-Cal or Medicare."
It could also be a problem of a person's simply not being able to find a provider who can care for her or his needs, Smith said. There's also a whole demographic that's struggling with addiction and mental illness who often have even fewer options in terms of care. All of that is part of the reason the nurses want more than has been given with the recent upholding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"The nurses are very committed to Medicare for all, under which every patient gets a single standard of quality care, whether they live in South Los Angeles or in Hollywood," she said, adding that nurses don't look at the people they treat in terms of the tier of medical care they qualify for.
"Nurses look at patients as human beings," she said.
The free screenings will run until 6 p.m.; beginning at 6:30, the nurses will host a town hall meeting that will focus on the changes in health care that come as a result of the ACA's upholding. In those meetings, Smith said, they want to reach out the community, as well as listen to their stories.
"We'll do a little bit of educating about what the ACA does and does not do, and what the nurses hope to do to move beyond that," she said. The message the nurses are hoping to get across to the people they meet on their tour is, at its core, simple.
"It's not your fault," Smith said. "It's the system that's broken."
In addition to its southside stop, the tour has touched down in San Diego, Bakersfield, Stockton, San Jose, San Luis Obispo and Glendale, among other cities.
S.C.O.P.E. is located at 1715 West Florence Avenue, Los Angeles, 90047. Screenings begin at 3 p.m.; the town hall will commence at 6:30 and will be over by 8. All are welcome and no appointment is necessary.
Photo from National Nurses United. Used with permission.