Not all publicity is good publicity – at least not for Knoxville residents.
In an effort to satirize the American healthcare system, "The Daily Show" correspondent Aasif Mandvi traveled to Knoxville in a recently aired segment of the Comedy Central program.
Pretending to travel to a third-world country in desperate need of aid, Mandvi feigned shock upon finding hundreds of citizens lined up, waiting in order to receive free care outside of Knoxville.
Remote Area Medical, a corp of volunteers, serves to provide free medical assistance to those without access to quality healthcare. The organization is currently focusing its efforts on providing clinics in the Appalachian region in a two-year campaign called "Stop the Suffering."
"When I came to this country, I saw there was a desperate need for people who couldn't afford or didn't have access to care," said Stan Brock, former Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom star and founder of Remote Area Medical.
Although the program was originally designed to aid struggling communities in third-world countries, Brock informed Mandvi that currently "more than 90 percent of what we do is here in the United States."
Throughout the segment, Mandavi referred to the healthcare efficiency rating system used by the World Health Organization, a United Nations specialized agency that deals with public health. Currently, the United States ranks No. 37 in a list of 191 countries for healthcare system proficiency.
According to the 2013 Gallup-Healthways State Rankings Report, Tennessee stands at 44 among the 50 states in terms of general health and well-being.
John Nikolai, sophomore in nursing, believes the need for healthcare reform in Knoxville is apparent.
"If you look at the impoverished areas of the Appalachian Mountains, there are a lot of people that are definitely not getting support," Nikolai said after viewing "The Daily Show" segment. "I definitely think there needs to be healthcare reform."
In another of the program's interviews, Mandvi spoke with Fox Business commentator Todd Wilemon, who had a different view of the state of the nation's healthcare.
"The U.S. healthcare system is the best in the world," Wilemon said, summarizing the Affordable Care Act as, "I get less. I pay more. I'm not happy."
In January, Republican representatives in the Tennessee Senate proposed a bill that would make the access of services provided through the Affordable Care Act illegal for all local and state government employees.
In regards to federal healthcare, Wilemon explained his opinion to Mandvi through a single mantra.
"Everybody wants a free meal," Wilemon said. "If you're poor, stop being poor."