He had no other option to receive medical care – except for prison

A North Carolina man – James Richard Verone – was sent to jail earlier this month after he tried to rob one dollar from a bank. Verone’s motive for the petty crime was simple – he wanted to go to prison so that he could get healthcare. After he was laid off as a delivery driver for Coca Cola – Verone found himself without health insurance and in constant pain due to arthritis. He was repeatedly denied health insurance – and denied disability. So he had no other option to receive medical care – except for prison.

So Verone walked into a bank and slid a note to the teller saying he is robbing them for just one dollar. Unfortunately – there are more than 50 million people just like Verone who don’t have health insurance and thus are blocked from seeing doctors in America. Republicans like to argue that the United States doesn’t go the way of every single other industrialized nation on the planet and offer healthcare as a basic right because we are “an exceptional nation” – we’re not like Canada or France with their “socialized medicine.” But at least in Canada you don’t have to go to prison to get life-saving healthcare.

If serving time just to see a doctor is what being exceptional means – then the conservative vision of America truly has become a nightmare.


gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 50 weeks ago

"There are many issues associated with health care reform that divide us as a nation, but one that can unite us all: health care reform is essential to the reduction of poverty in America."

- Father Larry Snyder, Catholic Charities USA (from the Catholic Standard, March 4, 2010)

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 50 weeks ago

I am trying to ease and wean myself away from comments. Keeping a lid on comments will hopefully mean less stress in my life. I do enjoy sharing information as well as my thoughts but trying to help make our country and our world a better place is very difficult. THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME!!!!! Satan’s disciples in our country have a strangle hold on us and on total evil!!!

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 50 weeks ago

What people won't do to get on the national media these days!

This is reality- North Carolina's Health Care system is equipped to treat indigent and uninsured patients and those who cannot receive Disabiliy, Medicare or Medicaid. The Mecklenberg County Emergency Room would provide him with stabilizing treatment, examination, perhaps medication, and referrals to the county outpatient services available to him according to his economic status. http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/body.cfm?id=37

The man has options, but his mug shot looks as though a Psych Evaluation may be fruitful.

Not like ol' smiley-face John Edwards who has the happiest mug shot ever. What's up with that?

No one goes to federal prison for a $1 and all the defense has to do is ask the bank to produce its actual FDIC certificate, which won't be possible, and therefore the court will have no jurisdiction. Case dismissed.


Super Had Enough's picture
Super Had Enough 11 years 50 weeks ago

I was injured on the job in 2002 with a herniated disk and torn tissue in my Sacro Iliac Joint that was over looked for three years. Jeb Bush changed work comp laws in 2003 so money benefits only had to be paid by the insurance company/employer for two years, so that gave them no real incentive to treat me because it wasn't costing them anything to ignore me or administratively abuse me, which they had been doing all along anyway.

I couldn't qualify for Medicaid because I was a Single Male Home Owner with no dependents. They wanted me to be homeless before I could qualify for health care. I never got the health care I needed in work comp and in 2006 I developed Ulnar neuropathy in both my arms.

My reason for saying all that, is I actually/strongly considered committing a crime to see if I could get health care, so I can appreciate exactly why this guy did what he did.

Fortunately for me, I found out in 2010 that I qualify for health care through the VA because of a service related disability I have. I've yet to get the surgeries I need, but theoretically my right arm will get operated on next month. I try not to have hope about it because that only leads to disappointment that was always twice as bad as the amount of hope I had for every time I was told I was going to get help along the way.

I have some real mind blowing stories of all the administrative abuses I have been through or had/tried to endure.

I still have some hope, but I'm emotionally damaged from all the administrative abuses I've though. It's bad enough that I can't bring myself to reapply for SSDI even though I should have been receiving it since work comp money stopped.

The last ten years of my life have been needlessly ruined as I've been put through these abuses that happened because controls were put in place in the name of preventing abuses and insurance companies/the State of Florida have used them to prevent paying for helping people they should be helping.

Conservatives have twisted getting help into being a maze of corporate hoops (better known as bs) that you have to survive as though you are someone trying to get a promotion on the job. You are undeserving until you unequivocally prove and reprove that you qualify for the help/health care you need. The trap conservatives complain about in the system are the very traps that their policies create. They look at it as controls that are need to prevent fraud and they don't care about or track the outcome.

I'm glad I don't have to commit a crime, but the health care I'm getting now still is about administrative abuses as isn't 100% about making me well. At the rate things are going for the surgeries I need, it will likely take another few years to get there. That's a lot of poverty, struggles, appoints and medications along the way. I've needlessly been through what I've been through and it makes me tired to think about what I have to go through to get healthy, as well there is fear lurking in side me for the administrative problems that will happen along the way. The known known's & unknowns and the unknown unknowns, to steal a phrase.

I hope to survive all of this. As Robert Frost pointed out in his poem, by the time I get where I'm going on this road less traveled by, it will have made all the difference.

Super Had Enough's picture
Super Had Enough 11 years 50 weeks ago

Try jumping through all those hoops to get health care when you have no health or help and you've been in pain 24/7/365 as you have been living each day losing hope for a long time. After all this time He probably didn't have a car, maybe he was homeless. I guarantee you, you're looking at this as though he got hurt last week. He was going down the road that got him here for a while. Being in real pain 24/7 and not getting relief, day in and day out,losing hope, probably has damaged him so that he does need a Psych eval.

While those programs sound nice, they are there to make you feel better, not the people that actually need health care. When Health Care providers can focus on providing health care to the people that need it with out needing to worry about having to have an authorization number for treatment., then and only then, our Health Care system will no longer be broken.

Btw, those 50 Million folks who can't get health care, about 49,999,000 don;t have access to the internet to tell you their story. They are shut out of politics by poverty. I'd say there will be more national headline grabbing extremes to come. Buckle your seat belt Dorthy, the Matrix has you.

bvcardinal's picture
bvcardinal 11 years 50 weeks ago

A few suggestions:

1) Almost every ER is required by law or individual Hospital policies.... to treat ER patients.

2) The NEW Obama Care proposal does not guarantee this gentleman would get treatment.

3) There are MANY Community health clinics that take care of these issues and more.

There is no PERFECT system - Ours will never be perfect either...

Super Had Enough's picture
Super Had Enough 11 years 50 weeks ago

And that is an easy out to use to make sure we leave it with the Corporatist in charge of profiting from it instead of having a health care system that is about health care.

Getting treated in an ER is triage, not health care. That comparison is somewhere between weak and bogus.

I think to suggest we can't do better in America is unAmerican and Pro-Corporatist. I'm all for people who work in health care getting paid well for what they do, but all the other parts of health care need to be non-profit. Otherwise the focus is not health care, it's profit. It's that simple.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 50 weeks ago

What a great idea.....what if hundreds of thousands of people went into the banks and "robbed" them of $1.00...or even just 1 cent...as a means to show civil disobedience. I suppose if one had a serious disease or ailment....and no job or insurance...then, why not? It would really bog down our legal and courts system....and would probably result in a very definite change for the good in our criminally run health scare system.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 50 weeks ago

What some people may not know is that if they have served in the US armed forces and got an honorable discharge they are eligible for VA health services. They do not have to have a service connected disability... although if they do then they could rank higher on their rating scale and it would cost them much less....or even free....or no cost. Even if you are employed and earn lots of money you can still get VA...only it costs you more....the medicines...etc. They go by any income you are receiving and how much assets...like how much you have in the bank...to determine where you rank on the scale. I have to say that my experience with VA has been really fantastic. I wish the civilian health clinics and hospitals were run with such great efficiency. And they don't have CEOs and top execs raking in all the money so maximizing profit at the expense of good health care is not an issue either.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 11 years 50 weeks ago

How do I think America is exceptional. Oh boy, let me count the ways. Let's see now:

1. God loves us.

2. God hates everyone else.

3. God wants us to take over the entire world, preferably by force.

4. No one has the right to health care unless he or she is rich.

5. Everyone else has to be like us. Or else god won't love them. But I guess since God hates them all regardless, it doesn't make any difference but we'll still invade them if they're not like us.

6. We are always right, and so it stands to reason that everyone else is always wrong.

7. God blesses our troops, and wants them to kill everyone else's troops.

8. God wants everyone else's troops to become Christians, but even if they do, it's not like they're as good as us.

9. We can lie whenever we want to.

10. When anyone else lies, they should be invaded.

11. We can do anything we want, to our own citizens, and if our citizens disagree, they can deal with our Supreme Court, which says that we can do anything we want to our own citizens.

12. When the rulers of other countries do whatever they want to their citizens, we need to invade them. Unless what they are doing to their citizens is forcing them to work in prisons to make cheap toxic plastic crap for patriotic Americans to buy.

13. God wants us to insist that everyone displays the ten commandments all over the place. However, God does not want us to obey the ten commandments. In fact, God wants us to disobey the ten commandments. But this exception applies only to republicans. Democrats have to obey the ten commandments or God will hate them.

14. Whoever God hates, we hate. (And God hates whoever we tell Him to hate, so you can see how democrats are in a bit of a conundrum here).

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 50 weeks ago

Orlando, Florida has a law. You cannot share food with the hungry more than twice a year and only 25 hungry persons can receive food. More than twice a year and over 25 hungry persons is considered a criminal act. But, it is perfectly legal to spend fifty cents on every dollar on the military to kill God's children. There is something wrong with this picture. God's patience will not last forever with our country breaking the fifth, seventh, eighth, tenth, and the eleventh commandments.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 50 weeks ago

Don't think I haven't been around. Hey, I signed myself into the State Mental Hospital one Easter weekend to see what goes on in there, got a BIG shot of Thorazine and shuffled around for three days in my nightgown with a tall black man who said he was Moses, and another fellow who said he was an Angel and a member of AA, and they were my body guards.

I have long been an advocate against elder abuse and saved one lady's grand-nephew from being ripped off by the bookkeeper for his $250,000 inheritance.

I volunteered reading to children with leukemia, none of whom were paying for their bone marrow transplants.

I used to take a homeless guy named Frank to Subway every Sunday. I could not get him to go to a hospital when he was sick.

I have also personally witnessed that my County Emergency Room Doctors and Nurses are very forthcoming with treatment of the highest quality, whether you are insured, poor, an illegal immigrant, or a drug dealer with your chest blown open. They are experts in identifying people who are not getting care they need, as well as in identifying malingerers and Percoset seekers. Patients are released with follow up treatment recommendations and referrals. They are told if they have a problem, they can always come back to the emergency room. Help is there. These are people who care- forget the Republicans.

Medicine is medicine. People who have gone to the trouble to become ER doctors and nurses did so because they are healers, with a lot of courage.

And actually, insurance and money does not necessarily buy health. My Voice Teacher, BTW, lived about 90 years, riddled with pain head to toe, from arthritis. She had Blue Cross Blue Shield and Medicare, but it didn't matter. I almost broke my back putting her wheelchair, Ol' Ironside, in and out of my car. She took a lot of Darvocet and taught sometimes 10 private lessons a day up to the age of 92. I guess we could have gone on Dateline with it.

Oh, well.


leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 50 weeks ago

Another option could be converting to Christian Science.

No matter what everyone else is doing, we are each still responsible for knowing right from wrong. Robbing a bank for $1 to get medical care until retiring to Florida is WRONG.

There are always options, and to be HEALTHY we need to consider ALL our options in order to be more flexible. That is something I learned in a health class taught at my county hospital for free.


David Cantrell's picture
David Cantrell 11 years 50 weeks ago

What I find unusual is the apathy in this country compared to the rest of the developed nations. Health care is a basic right in some developed countrys but here in the supposedly richest nation on earth, it is not. I have seen this situation coming for decades now. The people in power have planned and executed it this way on purpose, but by the time enough people get fed up enough to do anything about it, it will be too late. Our giant military industrial complex will be turned against us right here, and it will be a slaughter. There is no hope ! You can't change anything by popular vote because the elections can be bought and are corrupt. An example of that was Florida where they did not count the votes. I suggest everyone except the rich get used to pain because there will not be any care for you. The people in power expect you to die quietly. This is no longer the land of opportunity, but the land of screw everyone as much and as bad as you can. If you think this is not correct then just hang around a while, if you can that is. Dave

gerald's picture
gerald 11 years 50 weeks ago

American societal implosion is here with our citizens. There is truly no hope for our Anti-Christ nation.


leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 50 weeks ago

What gives everyone the idea that surgery and medical care in prison is the same as in a county hospital? Talk to someone who has had dental work in prison.

Go to the County Hospital system. They will calculate payments on a sliding scale. They call it "hospital insurance" amongst themselves. Try to think about the other people in the waiting rooms with you.

You can't let Bureaucrats stand in the way of your goals!

We just have to face the fact that home ownership, like everything else, isn't what it used to be.


Street Punk's picture
Street Punk 11 years 50 weeks ago

I predicted something like this would happen! I hate to be negetive but its only going to get worse! I dont know why people think protesting will work, do you honestly think these people will have a change of heart? Take Ireland for example Irish Republicans and Irish Republican Army members have tried to find a peaceful way to get the UK out of Ireland! They have been involved in peaceful protests, they have tried reaching out to them, and time and time again the British/English refuse! And like seen in peaceful protests they even get violent twards the Irish like say Bloody Sunday, or what Colonial Smyth said in 1920! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPKPlwR7_6k&NR=1 watch this to see what he said!

theduck's picture
theduck 11 years 50 weeks ago

The ER only need to use life threatening procerures to stabilize. No further treatment is required. It ALL depends on where you live as how many clinics are "available", and in many cases, qualifying is impossible, and there is always a waiting list.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 50 weeks ago

America is VERY exceptional in ignoring our founders intentions of Democratic, "We the People" rule, and instead the VERY MANY have tolerated and allowed the VERY FEW to suck the life out of both our economy and Democracy.

In the world of right wing terminology, "exceptional" is synonymous with "trickle down", they're both the same lame excuse and justification for greed, deregulation, and tax cutting insanity.

It would be truly exceptional if our elected officials admitted that taxing the super rich is an obligatory social correction due to the fact that our economy has been decimated by deregulation spawning massive bank fraud.

Barliman's picture
Barliman 11 years 50 weeks ago

I think America is exceptional in that it cannot see that it's free market ideology is every bit as delusional and restrictive as the dialectical materialism of it's shadow ideology Marxism.

As an Australian- we have a "socialised " medical system

It works OK- but not perfectly.

It can't do everything for everyone- but people do get at least a reasonable level of care for serious or emergency problems. Equally people are free to get private insurance and access a higher level of care. It is not dead equal it does allow choice it does not generate the runaway healthcare costs endemic to the United States and it functions perfectly well in afree market economy. It does restrict somewhat the profitability of the medical business- and that impacts me as a doctor. Overall it is all about a reasonable compromise between competing demands. That is what happens in mature societies that are not deluded by rigid ideology.

delster's picture
delster 11 years 50 weeks ago

My wife recently had Cancer. We had AETNA health insurance and felt with a their flagship policy we had nothing to worry about. My wife is now 62 years old but when she was 27 years old she had melanoma. Her recent claims were denied due to pre existing illness. We almost lost everything die to health care bills over two hundred thousand dollars. Providence forgave over 75% of the bill due to hardship. My wife was narrowly accepted into the Oregon Health Plan. I am self employed and sole income. Yes this is a remarkable system and I hope every hard line Republican reads this blog to see how successful it's working. I've been in business for over twenty five years and I've learned you better love your business enough to just be in it. If your in it just for profit you'd better get out because your already doing something counter productive.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 50 weeks ago

The reason why we will continue to be taken advantage of is because there are too many polyannas who think that robbing a bank for $1.00 in order to get medical treatment is such a horrible thing. This with the realization that the banksters have repeatedly done so much worse to most of us. Wring your hands and hang your heads over being grossly wronged but just try to get back at them...even just a little and you have committed a mortal sin and will burn in hell? Duh! Not even! Sure there are saintly beings out there who do really nice things and they deserve a medal...at least. But unless you command a Gandhi sized crowd of people willing to commit massive Satyagraha and put a big hurt on your enemies then such love your enemies kind of thinking is nonsense. Stick it to them when you can because they will stick you any way they can. It's war...haven't you heard. And bad things happen in war....hopefully mostly to your enemies. It's class war and we didn't start it...but we should finish it. Yes, they have fantastic arsenals and exotic weapons....but they haven't seemed to make a lot of difference against urban warfare and guerillas who believe they are defending their homeland. The US lost in Vietnam and are now losing in the Middle East. We are looking for any kind of "face-saving" way out. Although there are still those who would be happy to keep us there forever. Now, what would happen if US citizens were defending their country against oppressive regimes who have driven us all to our ends? The wealthy elite ruling classes are counting on their being able to keep the fear of their overwhelming powers and forces in our minds so that we never rebel. They can get away with pretending to be on the sides of "the people" in other countries but they don't give a rat's petutie about those countries being "democratic" or the welfare of "the people". But if the same kind of rebellion broke out in the US they would sure try to scare us with their helicopter gunships. But, I wonder...how many of those soldiers would actually follow orders when it really came down to murdering their own people? Yes, Kent state got a few but that is nothing like the magnitude of what could happen and if it did....how will that set with soldiers who might have in the backs of their minds the ideas that they could be murdering their own brothers and sisters husbands or wives.....or that they could be held accountable for committing treason against the people of the US. As long as you are worried about breaking the rules of right and wrong as had been taught to you (propagandized), you will never be rebellious enough to fight the class wars that are being waged against us.

mcowley01's picture
mcowley01 11 years 50 weeks ago

@Barliman: You're absolutely right. I'm British and spent 3 months in Australia last year. The Australian health care is OK but not quite as good as the British - we need never think about money no matter what happens to us - no signing up to health plans and reclaiming money, no co-pay, etc.. (We love our National Health System btw).

@delster: I sympathize 100%. I worked in USA for 2 years (2005 - 7) and I know your case is repeated for others on a vast scale.

@2950-10K: It's happening in UK too.

@Street Punk: It's a romantic, old fashioned view of Ireland. I'm a natural born underdog supporter but the Ireland question needs to be studied to be understood. I don't have sympathy for past British actions (we've always been too big-headed and overbearing with our empire building) but can't support the IRA either (99.999% of the current Irish generation are now against them).

dotymed's picture
dotymed 11 years 49 weeks ago

You really are uninformed, or at least informed as much as N.C. wants you to be. That propaganda is straight from their P.R. people. When you actually try to get this "free help" it is a much different story. They have waiting lists, years out.

" This is reality- North Carolina's Health Care system is equipped to treat indigent and uninsured patients and those who cannot receive Disabiliy, Medicare or Medicaid. The Mecklenberg County Emergency Room would provide him with stabilizing treatment, examination, perhaps medication, and referrals to the county outpatient services available to him according to his economic status. http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/body.cfm?id=37 "

Stabilizing treatment? Sure, they'll get you ambulatory. He already was. Just because you can walk doesn't mean crap.

"perhaps medication" yea, "perhaps" for the day.

"referrals to county outpatient services"...man that is a sad joke. Our health dept. Dr.'s are way overworked, very little pay and up to their necks in red tape. I know from experience. Let's say you have cancer. They can treat you if it is life threatening. Skin cancer that is "merely disfiguring", forget about it. That is just the tip of the iceberg. The medical help available to the poor and working poor is a band-aid until it reaches the point of mortality, then you can go on a waiting list. The Dr.'s get so frustrated, most of them WANT to help people, but their hands are tied. If it is not, for-profit health care, our government treats you like dirt.

Try it. Lets say you have a very painful condition...,these Dr.'s are not allowed to prescribe anything stronger than Ibuprofen. Hey, you're poor, bite the bullet.

I have a Sister with skin cancer on her nose (most of her nose) they cannot help because it is not lethal. I am still in the process of creating a webpage for donations (I am not very technically savvy) to help her save some of her looks and self-confidence. She saw a Surgeon, he kept saying, "so you don't have insurance" very rudely. Then he offered to cut some cancer out every 4 weeks and send the results to an expensive pathologist. No insurance, no reconstructive surgery. If she had insurance, he would do "microsurgery and remove al of the cancer in one setting and then reconstruct her nose.

I have an unemployed Nephew who lost his COBRA insurance because he could not afford it. He has rectal cancer but because he has had insurance w/in the last 60 days he has to wait. Untreated rectal cancer after it is diagnosed, left untreated for 2 months can, at least, destroy what health you have. He is 30 years old. He was fired from his job of 12 years because he passed out at work and had a hieatal hernia repaired but he was still sick from undiagnosed rectal cancer....lots of "help" available.

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