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Is this really Obama's America? Many excluded Americans living in fear of getting sick

Jessica, 30, shakes as she has all of her rotten teeth removed Credit: On Assignment

After the best part of two decades as a journalist I have witnessed some pretty dreadful things.

Having seen what man can do to his fellow citizens on the battlefield and watched what others can do to fix the damage, I thought my stomach was pretty strong.

Not prone to fainting, not too squeamish and ok with blood.

So heading off to America to cover Remote Area Medical, a charity which provides healthcare didn't seem something to brace for.

How wrong I was.

Because in a school hall in Virginia, surrounded by highly trained dentists, doctors and ophthalmologists, I saw some of the most disturbing medical scenes of my life.

In fact as I rooted in my bag for water, trying to avoid fainting having just seen Jessica, 30, have every tooth in her head wrenched out - whilst awake - I found myself questioning what country I was in.

Is this really Obama's America? The land of the Affordable Care Act? Or some broken nation with nothing but desperate measures left open to it?

What I witnessed in Virginia - hundreds of people who had no access to medical, dental or optical care - is very much the norm. And that's why the Remote Area Medical is so necessary.

Set up three decades ago to provide health care in the most remote or needy parts of the world it now works mainly in the USA looking after those for whom there is no state provision of care and no money to buy it in.

The story of the charity and it's British founder Stan Brock is fascinating - I hope we have done their work justice.

That they are needed at all in the Western world is truly shocking - as are the stories of those they treat.

  • Watch ITV's On Assignment on Tuesday 22nd November at 10:45pm.