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.