Man Robs Bank For $1 To Get Health Care In Jail

Republicans would like to remind you that health care isn’t a right — and maybe they are correct.  But when you look at the desperate measures some people will undertake in order to get affordable care, you have to wonder why it isn’t, and if it should be.

The latest example? Richard James Verone.

In his late 50′s, with no home or job, Verone went to a local bank, handed the teller a note stating he was demanding $1, and went to sit patiently for the police to arrive to take him off to jail.

He thought it was the only way he could get his medical needs met.  With a chest growth, ruptured disks and other issues, he couldn’t afford a doctor without any medical insurance.

Now he is getting his health issues straightened out, and hopes to stay behind bars until it is time to go collect social security.  Unfortunately, he “stole” so little money it looks like he may go home much sooner than he anticipated, but he’s getting care while inside, which is all he really wanted.

So is Verone manipulating the system?  His jail doctor says so, but Verone disagrees. “If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care then I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care.”

Verone is making an exchange — freedom for health care.  It would seem like a stiff price to pay, but for millions who have no insurance, they are making the opposite choice, trading their health care in order to stay out of jail.  They are avoiding doctors and hospitals, passing over needed treatments that they know they can never afford until they eventually have to make the desperate choice to go to a hospital and bankrupt themselves.

How can anyone in this country listen to these stories and not believe access to affordable health care should be a right for every person in this country?

(Via Think Progress)

Photo credit: Photo: via Wikimedia Commons



Sarah M.
Sarah M6 years ago

This shows how messed up our country is when a man has to commit a crime to get health care.

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B7 years ago

Great idea, sad story...

Empress Ginger
Ginger Strivelli7 years ago

health care should be a right not a privilege for those who can afford it.

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

That's what is wrong with American health care. Whether it's a right or not is not the issue. When someone has a life condition, they need to be treated for their life. To deny such is to say this man, and others like him, can just die because they don't count...

When health care is so expensive, we have little to no access when we're poor, is just plain wrong. As an American citizen, we ought to be able to get it, even if we pay a nominal fee.

John Zimmer
John Zimmer7 years ago

It's a shame to have to go to such an extreme just to get something that SHOULD BE A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT, especially in this country, as it is in other countries! America is SUPPOSED to be an "example" for the rest of the world, which it is, unfortunately it's more a BAD example than a good one most of the time!

Tiffany L.
Tiffany L7 years ago

thank you :(

Clara Listensprechen

Seeking to go to jail isn't a new idea. Our nation's most famous jailbird wrote a short story on just such a strategy. It's called "The Cop and the Anthem" by O. Henry.

Shannon G.
Shannon G7 years ago

If the man had no home or job he would qualify for medicaid. This "writing" does not tell the whole story, did he apply and was turned down? Just curious....

Wendy L.
W L7 years ago

Desperate times called for desperate measures in this man's life. Who would have thought that we would see this type of choice in America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?

Jill C.
jill c7 years ago

He knew the rules of the system and used them to his advantage, how is he different than any entrepreneur out there who does the same? The man needed health care and got it by being creative and using the rules.