'The Daily Show' uses Knoxville as health care example

(WBIR) Knoxville made national TV Thursday night through a piece that poked fun at the nation's health care system.

Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" highlighted Knoxville-based Remote Area Medical (RAM) in a story called, "Third World Health Care -- Knoxville, Tennessee edition."

The show interviewed RAM Founder Stan Brock. RAM provides free health care to communities.

Brock said he hopes it will get the attention of the show's younger audience and help them realize that the need for affordable health care is great, even in successful communities.

"Here in Knoxville, a highly successful place, lovely place to live, but like the rest of America still having thousands of thousands of people in this neighborhood that can't afford to go to the doctor, can't afford to go to the dentist," Brock told 10News, the day after the Comedy Central piece aired.

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" mentioned Tennessee's high rates of cancer and heart disease.

"We do have higher rates of heart disease and cancers in Tennessee and in Knox County," said Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of Knox Co. Health Department.

Buchanan said the show's claims were not far off.

"In Knox County, 18% of people under the age of 18 do live in poverty and I know that number has gone up since the recession. And we're seeing that gap widen between the rich and the poor," she said.

According to America's Health Rankings, Tennessee comes in 42 place in the nation for health outcomes. Buchanan said Knox County, ranks sixth in the state.

"So being sixth in one of the lower states is not necessarily something to brag about," Buchanan said.

Channel 10 viewers had mixed reactions to the satire piece.

Steve Jeffers wrote on the WBIR Facebook page, "Stewart hit the nail on the head!"

Meanwhile, Teddie Mize posted, "I think it made Knoxville look like idiots!"


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