James Verone Robs Bank For Jail Health Care (VIDEO)
It said "This is a bank robbery, please only give me one dollar." Verone then told the teller he'd be sitting in a nearby chair, waiting for the police.
The 59-year-old said he did everything he could to get caught so he could receive free health care in jail.
Verone has a growth on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot. With no job, Verone thought his desperate plan was the best way to provide for himself.
Verone was charged with larceny.
Courtney Boyd Myers at The Next Web notes Verone's plot provides clear evidence of a flawed medical system.
"As his fellow American, I have to say, our national health care is in a very sad state," Myers writes.
Though Verone said he's receiving good care in jail, Slate previously reported that health care in prison is at best as good as a low-income health plan and at worst, almost nonexistent.
The majority of ailments are treated on-site, but inmates who are gravely ill can be taken to the nearest hospital. Sick prisoners must make a nominal co-payment for each visit to the jailhouse doctor—usually $5 or so, taken from an hourly wage that typically runs between 19 cents and 40 cents an hour. Costs above that are covered by the state.
It's been more than a year since President Obama signed landmark health care reform legislation. The bill was designed to provide health insurance to millions of Americans who currently lack it. But one year later, the number of uninsured remains roughly the same. That's largely because most of the bill's major elements aren't due to be implemented for another three years.
This month, Republican governors fought against federal rules requiring states to maintain current levels of health-care coverage for the poor and disabled.
There is also an effort, spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to change Medicare from a government run program to a voucher system. Critics of the plan said it would mean seniors would have to pay more out of pocket for care.
Late last week, AARP, a powerful lobbying group for older Americans, said it was open to cuts in Social Security benefits.
Verone's plan was to go to jail for three years, then be released in time to start collecting Social Security.