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Man Robs Bank of $1 To Get Health Care In Jail 950

f1vlad writes "A 59-year-old man has been jailed in Gastonia, N.C., on charges of larceny after allegedly robbing an RBC Bank for $1 so he could get health care in prison. Richard James Verone handed a female teller a note demanding the money and claiming that he had a gun, according to the police report."


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

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:17AM (#36513338)

    If you can't get a job, that's about the quickest, easiest way to get healthcare in the U.S. The healthcare isn't great in jails and prisons, but it beats the hell out of nothing.

    For those of you fortunate enough to live in developed countries, let me break down the U.S. system for you. Here are the only ways to get healthcare in the U.S.:

    1) Go to prison or jail. Not the best care, but beats nothing
    2) Be real poor. This will usually qualify you for Medicaid--which sucks, but is also better than nothing.
    3) Be a child. There are usually programs for providing healthcare for kids.
    4) Be over 65. This will qualify you for Medicare--which isn't the best by a longshot (many doctors won't accept it) but it's a lot better than Medicaid
    5) Get a job with benefits. This means a full-time job (working as a cashier at Walmart won't cut it). Better come armed with a college degree. Quality is all over the map.
    6) Join the military. Very good healthcare. But this could involve getting shot at.
    7) Become a Congressman of other high-ranking government official. Best fucking care you can get. Expect gold-plated bedpans for yourself and your family, even as you rail against government-supported healthcare for everyone else.

    Of course, you can also elect to pay for it yourself. But, if you have ever seen what even basic healthcare costs in the U.S., you will realize this is impractical for anyone who isn't Bill Gates. A single emergency room visit could easily bankrupt even a moderately well-off individual. And don't even THINK about having surgery unless you've got a mansion to mortgage.

    • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:21AM (#36513404)

      1) Go to prison or jail. Not the best care, but beats nothing

      No always. Take a look at California's prison healthcare issues []. This guy will probably be charged by the state (instead of federal) and the state may even deal with him as a non-violent offender who gets house arrest (and has to pay for his own monitoring). The DA & prosecutor aren't stupid - they'll want to discourage this type of activity.

      • but until then he's still in Jail, you know how long it takes something to go to trial? at MINIMUM 1-2 years.
      • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:26AM (#36513504) Journal

        So what you're saying is that he'll have to commit a more serious crime?

        • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:59AM (#36514168)

          That's pretty much it. This has to be one of the saddest stories I've ever heard.

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )
        breaking a house arrest to get into a real prison is.. well, fuck, it's much easier than robbing a bank of 1$. and doing something to get more time in the prison is easy too, like, getting drugs and then getting caught for them. for a good prison time he should have probably done a finance crime of federal proportions? I guess just showing up naked at the town house wouldn't cut it nowadays..
      • You mean making the mistake of not harming anyone? I'm sure the next guy to try this will take careful note of that.
      • by BSAtHome ( 455370 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:34AM (#36513658)

        Why do you assume he has a house?

        House-arrest for a homeless. That'll be nice. Please stay on the corner of 5th and west st. for the duration of your time to be served.

    • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:25AM (#36513480) Journal

      I'm sorry that it's so tough for you guys in the US. Here in the UK, Cameron (like Reagan's mini-me Thatcher and various oddly-admired gentlemen all the way back to half-American Churchill) is trying his best to turn us into the 51st state.

      But it turns out that quite a lot of British people love the NHS. And, imperfect as all human endeavours will be, so do I. And I don't just love it in principle - I, like almost everyone in the UK, have experienced and benefitted from it.

      (I also have experienced US healthcare. Oh dear. The US does a few things very right - why must it get some things so wrong?)

      • by gclef ( 96311 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:42AM (#36513830)

        "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."
            -- Winston Churchill

    • by DreadPiratePizz ( 803402 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:27AM (#36513524)
      Paying for yourself not practical? I don't smoke and I'm not overweight, and I pay $150/mo for full coverage. If I stay in the hospital, I'm never on the hook for more than $1500; my insurance pays the rest. Granted I am single and young, but I'm not exactly going bankrupt here. I'm sure if you have a large family or are otherwise unhealthy it can be a a huge burden, but if you can't afford that then it pays to not have kids and just take care of yourself.
      • I suspect you have yet to make a substantial claim. Protip: Don't count on that max out-of-pocket being the end of the story.
        • by pluther ( 647209 )
          I'm guessing that's also what he pays after his company, or school, or parents, pay the rest.

          Either that, or it's not nearly as comprehensive as he thinks.

          Or he lives in a state where there's a good state plan available. (There's a few states doing this now.)

          Things are getting better, though. I've been searching to get a plan myself, and have found a couple of decent options in the $300-$400 range. Which is a vast improvement over last time I looked, a few years ago, when the same plans were $1000-$

        • by hazydave ( 96747 )

          The single largest cause of bankruptcy in the USA? Medical expenses incurred by people who were "fully covered". That's about half of all bankruptcies.

          And chances are, you'll never know if you're fully covered or not. And even if you are, you may have some hours of taking at your insurance company to ensure they agree. There seems to be a standard policy at most insurance companies to just randomly reject claims, even those they know are covered.

          I do know from where I speak. My wife was diagnosed with breas

          • by hazydave ( 96747 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @04:45PM (#36519378)

            Incidently... thanks to big fat Chris Christie (Jersey governor), my wife's insurance, formerly a benefit (teachers have typically had great benefits and lousy pay... as an engineer working at startups for the last few years, I'm usually dealing with good pay and lousy benefits), may cost as much as $6,000 this next year, to cover our family of four. As with many of the Republican governors, Christie has been working hard to effectively increase taxes on teachers, firemen, police, and other public employees, so he can afford the tax breaks previously given to the richest in the state.

            Of course, what he's effectively done is killed an untold number of small businesses. It's an on-going thing... we lost a couple locally already this year (Woodstown/Pilesgrove), even a liquor store. Those are supposed to do well in bad economies...

            The rich are already the richest (compared to the average) they've been since before the great depression -- additional income does nothing. Same with businesses -- additional income does absolutely nothing to grow a business. Additional demand for a product or service is the thing that grows a business. And these new sideways taxes have just ensured that a big chunk of the New Jersey middle class will have thousands less to spend this year and next.

            That's important to understand -- the poor and the middle class spend all of their income; the rich don't. So additional lower end income boosts an economy, additional higher end income alone does nothing to the local economy. Boosting everyone's income boosts the economy, but only for a very short time.. things do ultimately stabilize around supply and demand... the price of things in short supply go up, and eventually, no one sees that income boost any longer. But I digress...

      • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:38AM (#36513748)


        yes, yes, you skip over the most obvious thing.

        I'm nearly 50. I'm not in bad health but things do get worse over time, as you get older. they just do.

        enjoy your youth and $150/mo payment. it won't last forever. remember this post in 20 or 30 years time.

      • by moonbender ( 547943 ) <> on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:42AM (#36513846)

        FWIW, approximately the same amount of money pays for full private coverage in Germany. (Most people pay far less, unemployed people pay nothing.) Visits to the doctor, prescription meds, glasses, hospital stays and surgery are basically all covered 100%. If you don't need the coverage for a full quarter, a part of the fees is returned.

        • by azalin ( 67640 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @12:02PM (#36514238)
          For those of you who don't know what "full private coverage" means (eg everyone not from germany):
          * Single or double room if you are in hospital (your choice)
          * free choice of clinic
          * treatment by the chief physician
          * full dental care
          * glasses, contact lenses
          * alternative medication and treatment (eg acupuncture)
          * massage and physiotherapie
          * psychotherapy
          All paid for. You usally get the best your hospital / doctor has to offer.
        • by funkylovemonkey ( 1866246 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @03:40PM (#36518170)
          About six years ago I developed a kidney stone that refused to pass. I was right out of college, had just lost my health coverage and did not have a job with insurance. The pain was chronic and possibly dangerous (I won't go into the details but also fairly rare). Finally I went to my local hospital and paid out of pocket. After four or five visits along with a CT scan and a trip to the emergency room (and about six hundred dollars in hospital bills) they finally told me that I needed lithotripsy to destroy the stone. Because I had no insurance the cost of them blasting the stone in an out patient operation (basically going into the hospital that morning and being kicked to the curb by lunch) was roughly 8000 dollars. Instead I flew to Germany where a weeks stay in the hospital and two lithotripsy operations (because the stone did not break up the first time) along with x-rays, ultrasounds and other tests cost me 3000 dollars. Add in a plane ticket that cost about 600 and I paid less then half to fly across the world to get the operation done then I would have paid here in the states (even worse, if I had to have two operations in the states the total would have been 16,000, whereas the German doctors only charged me a few hundred more for a few more days in the hospital). I had grown up hearing all my life about the horrors of socialized medicine. About long waits and incompetent care. What I experienced was the opposite. I had longer waits in US hospitals (including a two hour wait for a CT scan, I never waited more then half an hour for anything in Germany). What shocked me more was how brazenly I was treated by the doctors here in the US, who seemed almost uninterested in what I had to say and were more interested in getting me out of their office. I also had the unfortunate experience in the US during this time of having one of my samples switched with someone else's and had the doctor (erroneously) call me into the office to tell me I had Hepatitis C. I wasn't amused.
      • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:43AM (#36513872)

        $1500 is a lot when you're out of work. And more to the point, how often can that 1500 re-occur? Admittedly I'm in canada so we don't treat people like they'll have to pay out of pocket. But my best friend at 29 had cancer. He was admitted, sent home, re-admitted to hospital several times in a week, and 3 times in one day. It wasn't even that the hospital was trying to be rid of him, he just had a lot of different parts of his body failing in different ways and they'd solve one problem, send him home (because the feeling is you recover better at home) and 2 days later something else would go wrong.

        He's sorted out health wise now. But that's beside the point. If you end up in hospital multiple times in a month, how often will your insurance re-bill you.

        What does "full coverage" mean? Prescription drugs? Do you have a co-pay? If you have a deductible of 1500 in hospital care (or something like that) it's certainly not 'full'. What if you go to a hospital in a different city than where you live? Does your insurance company approve (or not) of places you can go? Also, under what conditions can they drop your coverage. That was the trick with my friend, as he learned through friends in various support groups. In the US the first time you get cancer you're probably covered by insurance. But the moment they think you're cured for 3 months they drop your ass like a rock, and no one else will touch you with a 100 metre, I'm sorry, foot, pole, and then you're in deep shit.

      • One thing that people often forget is that you can get very individualized plans, and these can cut the costs dramatically.

        Instead of general health insurance, ask for catastrophic health insurance. As in: You pay out of pocket for all regular doctor visits and medication. Get insurance for things like "I cracked my head open and my brain is exposed." Telling doctors that you are paying in cash, out of pocket, will often reduce your costs as well.

        One reason that insurance rates are so stupidly high is the f

    • by cob666 ( 656740 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:27AM (#36513536) Homepage
      While I agree with everything you said I will say that I am currently self employed and paying for my own health insurance, my monthly premiums are just over 600 per month (I'm 45 and in pretty good health). While routine visits are paid for I still have a $30 co-pay for every doctor visit and usually a $25 co-pay for prescriptions (although I have paid higher for more costly medication). Anything other than routine requires pre-authorization from the insurance company and is more times than not declined with no explanation the first or even second time my doctor requests it (such as physical therapy for a knee). Also, every year my premiums increase by 10-15 percent and my premiums are almost to the point where I will NOT be able to afford that monthly cost.
      • A lot of people forget about that. What's worse is that for somebody in their 40s, you've got it easy, a lot of people can't get insurance at all no matter how much money they have. I would have been in that position were it not for my state having a pool for anybody that can pay, regardless of health condition. It's much more expensive than the other options, but at least it's there for those that can afford it.

        In many states, those folks wouldn't have any insurance at all.

        Makes me wonder how ignorant a pe

      • my monthly premiums are just over 600 per month (I'm 45 and in pretty good health)

        Have you considered catastrophic health insurance []? Catastrohpic health insurance has a really high deductible, like around $6000. Then most of your run-of-the-mill health care is just paid out-of-pocket, but if you end up needing a $100k operation, you don't break the bank. It's significantly cheaper, and (I think) is probably a better way to go if you're reasonably healthy.

    • by ultramk ( 470198 )

      There's another option you're missing.
      8) Make enough money to buy an individual insurance plan on your own. It's extremely expensive, and will probably be a big portion of your income unless you're pretty well-off, but people do it.

      Otherwise good list, although I would quibble with 7... pretty much all full-time government workers get pretty damn good health care plans, not just the high ranking ones.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I don't really see other countries with universal care as "developed" in contrast to the US. Sure, they provide care to more people, and in the short term, things look great. But the reality is that none of these nations handle the real issue that is straight in the face of the US, rising healthcare costs. Universal care in other countries doesn't fix this. They just make someone else pay for it. In Japan, over 50% of the hospitals operate in the red. In Germany, doctors are forced to take substantially low

      • by j-beda ( 85386 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @12:17PM (#36514544) Homepage

        I don't really see other countries with universal care as "developed" in contrast to the US. Sure, they provide care to more people, and in the short term, things look great. But the reality is that none of these nations handle the real issue that is straight in the face of the US, rising healthcare costs. Universal care in other countries doesn't fix this. They just make someone else pay for it. In Japan, over 50% of the hospitals operate in the red. In Germany, doctors are forced to take substantially lower wages than in comparative countries, which has led to a number of protests consisting of tens of thousands of doctors and contributed to Germany's immigration deficit.

        The US system sucks, but it's a lot easier to fix than in these other nations.

        I don't agree. The types of problems that places like the EU countries and Canada are experiencing for example in their health care systems are ones of supply issues (wait times for example), payment formulas (hospital and physician payments for example), and coverage policy debates (what should be covered? IVF, sex changes, experimental, etc.) While these are significant issues, fundamentally the systems are working to provide reasonable care to the majority of the population without undue hardship on the individual or the society as a whole. Additionally, the potential changes to the existing systems to address current and future shortcomings are not mired in political difficulties in the way the politicization of healthcare in the US has made it virtually impossible to craft any significant reforms. In contrast to pretty much the rest of the "developed" world, the US is spending huge amounts on a per-capita basis, with large fractions of the population getting inadequate care at a very high cost to the individual and a very high cost to the economy. It is a very real challenge for a US company to provide health coverage to its workforce while still being competitive with a non-US company operating in a country with a more workable health-care system.

        Not that I disagree with all of redemtionboy's points. Greater competition, removal of conflicts of interest, better consumer knowledge, and all sorts of other tweaks could result in huge increases in efficiencies to the whole health care system. Fundamentally however I feel that healthcare is probably not something I want to be completely "market-driven" - particularly since I find it hard to believe that the market will inevitably be manipulated to the determent of the patient/customer.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @12:39PM (#36514994) Homepage Journal

        " Universal care in other countries doesn't fix this. "
        Yes, in fact it can.

        Remember, much of are cots are acquired because we DON"T have UHC.

        Poor women go into ER to complain about 'Chest pains' and then mention they might be pregnant to gt a pregnancy kit. So they get 2000 in tests when all they really needed was a 15 dollar pregnancy kit.

        People go to ER to get treated for something that would have been substantial cheaper if they had access to a doctor to get treated right away instead of having to wait for an emergency.

        Dental issues are seldom considered an emergency.. until it's so infected that have to go to the ER because the infection is spreading to the brain.

        People get minimum they needed to get to treat the emergency, not the underling problem, so they come back every time a chronic problem becomes and emergency.

        And so on..

        We do pay for this, with higher Dr. and hospital costs, higher insurance rates.

        This doesn't even get into how not having UHC strangles many small and growing business.
        Get to a point where you need senior people? you will need to provide health care for those employees. This costs business a lot of money. If we all paid with taxes, then there would be less of a burden an small business.

        UHC lowers the cost of health. The market, by it's very nature, will not help people. There is NO competing for 50% of the population. given a free market, they have no choice.

        You're solution leads to great and cheep healthcare for the most well off people only, because insurance is about offsetting costs. SO it's in the business best interest to insure you until you leave the optimal area. so if your re 18-30, and make 150K+ a year, the 'free market' will be happy to help you.

        This is shown in history.

      • by RogerWilco ( 99615 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @01:07PM (#36515492) Homepage Journal

        Sorry, but a lot of developed countries pay a lot less for their universal health care then the USA, per capita. Sure it means that medical specialists might earn a little less. They're not going to earn millions, most people in the semi-public sector are limited to the amount the Prime Minister earns, which is about 250,000 euro. Still pretty decent in my view.

        Go look up the numbers []
        United States: $4,631.00 per capita
        Netherlands: $2,246.00 per capita

        The Dutch government has defined a "standard healthcare package", which all insurance companies must cover for a fixed amount (just over 1000 euro a year). They can compete on service and extra options. They also can't refuse you the standard package, so anyone can get this basic set of healthcare and it's mandatory to be insured. Only people like the homeless aren't insured, jobless people and those on minimum wages are helped by the government to pay for their insurance.
        And for what's covered: Currently the discussion is if support for giving up smoking should be covered. That should give you an idea.
        There's optional extra packages for things like modifications in the home, electric wheelchairs, TV and newspapers at your bedside in the hospital.

        We also struggle with rising costs for medical care, but as you can see, we're in a much better place than the USA which pays about twice as much.

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      But, if you have ever seen what even basic healthcare costs in the U.S., you will realize this is impractical for anyone who isn't Bill Gates

      This is not always so.

      My wife and I have been self employed for years and both pay for our own health care. I now work for a Fortune 500 company, and we still stay with our individual plans because they are cheaper. Here is the key difference: Companies provide high-end health care, while individual care has more gradations. My employer's healthcare has a $100 deductible, a low co-pay, and pays for every random doctor visit, dental appointment, or band-aid. My individual coverage has $1000 deductible bu

    • The irony of him robbing the Royal Bank of Canada cannot be overstated.

  • Yeap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:18AM (#36513358)
    That's the way to do it when you've got nothing. How awful must his life have been to think that prison is a step up.
    I love the NHS.
  • It's a really sad story and statement about healthcare but I really don't see how this is Slashdot material in any way. The concept of committing a crime so that you can get some free meals, bed, etc. is incredibly old.

  • by Relyx ( 52619 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:21AM (#36513394)

    When I saw this story appear in my feed, I thought it was an article from The Onion. My god...

  • Option 1: Pay $260 / month for a $1,000 deductible plan, and hope that I don't have to spend the $1,000 before health insurance kicks in the rest.

    Option 2: Rob a bank. Get free health care!

    Except, I wouldn't ask for $1 like this guy. The teller would probably just laugh and tell me to get lost. I'd demand $50,000. That way, if I manage to evade the police, at least I can afford health care for one year before I would need to rob the bank again!

  • With a growth in his chest, two ruptured disks and no job, Verone hoped a three-year stint in prison would afford him the health care he needed ...

    But the charge of larceny, not armed robbery, is unlikely to keep Verone behind bars for more than 12 months

    You can't win. Even the simplest of plans the powers that be manage to screw you over on.

    • With a growth in his chest, two ruptured disks and no job, Verone hoped a three-year stint in prison would afford him the health care he needed ...

      But the charge of larceny, not armed robbery, is unlikely to keep Verone behind bars for more than 12 months

      You can't win. Even the simplest of plans the powers that be manage to screw you over on.

      Yes but this guy cant afford a lawyer so a 3 year sentence could still be a possibility!

  • Did the police return the $1 to the bank? Or did one of them pocket the dollar for his snack later that day? Better yet, do you think the bank is going to file an insurance claim? After all, they lost some unknown amount of business during the robbery, the insurance should cover that vague amount.
  • If there were any justice in the world, this guy would go in to rob the bank trying to get caught and end up getting away with $75,000.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @11:30AM (#36513578) Journal
    I think there was this short story by O' Henry, written around 1900 about someone breaking shop windows to go to jail for the winter every year. The Cop and the Anthem. []
  • It is sad that basic human greed has put this man in this kind of situation. According to the article, he has a growth in his chest and two ruptured disks. In some ways, this was an innovative thing to do but it is a shame that wanting to live cost him his freedom. I had often thought of doing the same thing if forced into that kind of situation. The only mistake this man made was not taking enough money (he only stole $1) to keep him in prison long enough for treatment. The judge may not even sentence
    • by batquux ( 323697 )

      it is a shame that wanting to live cost him his freedom.

      We all make this trade every day.

  • is haiti, somalia

    meanwhile, evil socialist countries like denmark, uk: they live longer than us, and pay less on healthcare, and are just plain happier and less stressed

    universal healthcare is just insurance, that's all it is. there is no one who can opt out of healthcare because if you break your arm, we're not going to let you walk around with your arm dangling, we're going to treat you. THAT'S what makes it mandatory: simple human morality. you're going to hold it against your fellow citizens that we want you to be healthy. it's your "choice" not to be treated? or is it your "choice" to be treated AND NOT PAY FOR IT, freeloader? the freeloaders are not the stereotypical welfare queen, the freeloaders are the young "libertarians" who break their arm, go to the hospital, and then avoid the bill because they can't afford it!

    why are some americans so fucking deranged on the obvious benefits of universal healthcare, and how "choice" is MORE EXPENSIVE, the REAL freeloading, and less healthy? who don't people understand the obvious?

    • by bussdriver ( 620565 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @01:45PM (#36516126)

      nope. Americans are suckered by propaganda; its all about emotions and not about facts and results. Just like global warming, for too many citizens its about their personal identity as a conservative or whatever and they can't be what they want/believe they are (and what is best) if they hold opposition positions-- its like the issues were made part of the definition of what they are... and they have been and it has been done under their nose--- instead of having them define their group they wish to belong to they define themselves to fit within the group. Ironic they are also such individualists...

    • It boggles my mind to no end, how the richest country in the world can have such inhumane healthcare. All while yelling at the Chinese for their human rights violations.

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