THERMAL, Calif. - "Just look look around, half the valley is here," said Thermal resident Robert Almada.
Almada braved a long line to see the dentist today...a very long line.
"Lot of people that are going without health care. Children here need attention. Seniors need attention, like myself. So it's very important," Almada said.
Almada along with hundreds of other valley residents came to Desert Mirage High School in Thermal to see the Flying Doctors, also known as Los Medicos Voladores. They are a group of physicians and dentists from all over the U.S. that provide free exams and treatments to people who can't afford a traditional doctor visit.
"My husband and I are not doing well right now and really need the services and just so thankful that they're here to help," said Mary Alice Airhart, who came to the event for several medical exams.
"It's nice to know there are professionals out there that care and aren't just thinking about the almighty dollar," Almada said.
For many today was the first time they ever received a check up. And the goal is it won't be their last.
"We hope out of this they can be put into a system where their health care needs, be it dental, be it medical, can go forward from here. But this is a starting point for many of them," said Dr. Ron Lewis, one of the Flying Doctors.
Obamacare is just months from going into effect, requiring everyone to be insured. But doctors and patients alike believe free medical clinics will still be in demand.
"There will always be a need for this kind of event. I don't think everybody is going to embrace Obamacare on day one. I think it's going to take several years before people feel comfortable getting into the system," Lewis said.
The Flying Doctors are set to return to the Coachella Valley next spring for another clinic. For more information visit: http://www.socalflyingdocs.org/
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