03 September 2011

A crime

James Verone of Gastonia, N.C. was 59 years old when he noticed a lump growing out of his chest. He had been laid off from his job of 17 years working as a delivery truck driver and hadn't managed to find steady work since. He lacked health insurance. Recognizing that he needed care, he decided to rob a bank for $1, just so that he would be sent to prison and receive treatment.

“I'm sort of a logical person and that was my logic. [This is] what I came up with,” Verone told a North Carolina news station. He had no past criminal record.

It's hard to argue with Verone's thinking (what would you do in his shoes?). It's a truly sorry state of affairs. And since the government is paying for Verone's health care anyway, it is a costly folly that he will be incarcerated as well when he could have been a productive member of society.

Most of the Affordable Care Act's improvements to the insurance system are slated to take effect in 2015. Yet many obstacles remain. Recent federal court decisions, pressure from governors, and a threat of repeal from Republican Congressmen threaten to undo several key provisions. I'm still hoping that universal health care will triumph.