Here is the new ultimatum people are putting to themselves: is it better to be in prison on a felony charge with some health care, or dead? Or put another way, “America 2011: crime or death.” 59-year-old delivery driver James Varone was not able to obtain medical treatment for a chest protrusion after losing his latest job, so he robbed a bank for one dollar in order to be arrested and sent to prison, where he can see a doctor for free. We give it one week until we are reading another story like this:

[Varone] has a lot to say on the subject of socialized medical care. He suspects he wouldn’t be talking to a reporter through a metal screen wearing an orange jumpsuit if such an option were available in the U.S.

“If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything,” said Verone.

The man has high hopes with his recent incarceration.

He has seen several nurses and has an appointment with a doctor Friday.

The ideal scenario would include back and foot surgery and a diagnosis and treatment of the protrusion on his chest, he said. He would serve a few years in prison and get out in time to collect Social Security and move to the beach.

[Gaston Gazette via ThinkProgress]

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  • Barb

    I plan on shoplifting a Slim Jim later to get my pap smear.

  • That is so fucked that (as someone who may be moving to the US soon) I can't muster up any humour about it.

    • bureaucrap

      raising the question of why you'd want to move here; though, as fellow-wonketteers, we, of course, would welcome you with open arms.

      • For love.

        • bureaucrap

          Touche'. We welcome you in the name of love.

          • flamingpdog

            One more in the name of love.

          • onemoretime79

            USA. Not as bad as the headlines lead you to believe.*

          • Ducksworthy

            Can I haz that for a bumper sticker?

      • elviouslyqueer

        though, as fellow-wonketteers, we, of course, would welcome you with open arms.

        And we know of at least one person who will welcome you with open legs.

    • user-of-owls

      I'm reasonably sure that an ASBO won't do the trick, unfortunately.

      • I'd like to kick an ASBO up the Obamacare opponents collective asses.

        • user-of-owls

          Particularly the Majority Leader, John ASBOehner.

    • pinkocommi

      It's spelled "humor" here in the US. Although, we will laugh at the extra 'u,' so perhaps it is fitting.

      • I will change my spell settings so I can be an effective US temp, thanks!

  • Come here a minute

    According to Talking Points Memo, it didn't work because he only asked for a dollar, not qualifying for prison. If he had asked for a million dollars, it would have had the added benefit of covering his medical bills (maybe), if he got away with it.

    • if he stole a few billion dollars then he'd be considered a pillar of the Financial community and pontificate on TV about the financial system…

      • horsedreamer_1

        Or, Governor of Florida.

    • Buckminster

      If he had asked for a million, maybe the bank would have made him president and given him a large bonus.

    • SexySmurf

      It's like an O. Henry story. Or an "Oh Jesus, what is wrong with this country?" story.

    • Callyson

      Is this a new twist on the adage "if you owe a dollar, you've got a problem: if you owe a million dollars, the bank has a problem"?

    • flamingpdog

      If he had told the bank that he would never take a dime from it, but then ask for a gazillion dollars anyway, the bank would have run him for governor of a Red State.

    • Redhead

      Well, apparently he sat down as soon as the teller handed over the one dollar and waited for cops, so he wasn't really trying to get away with it.

      But yeah – in NC it becomes a felony charge if the stolen items are valued more than a certain dollar amount, and that amount is a lot higher than $1. He is in jail for a bit though.

      Sorry for the lack of snark. This level of sad makes the snark hard. (hehe, that's what she said – there, I tried.)

      • ShaveTheWhales

        Actually, that may work out for long as he can manage not to get released OR.

  • bureaucrap

    We're in a pretty bad way when people voluntarily go to jail because it's better than life on the outside.

    • Giveusabob

      And oddly enough, it's the closest thing we'd get to a genuine, socialized welfare state, with utter destruction of personal identity and everybody suckling on the Feds' teat … all courtesy the GOP.

      • flamingpdog

        Pfft, the GOP isn't really opposed to soshulism for the poorz, as long as the poorz are locked up where they can't ogle the GOP's young womenfolk.

        • Giveusabob

          I had actually the thought the chore of ogling womenfolk was to be eased by the recent introduction of the WWWA news network, so we may be closer to that soshulism than we realize.

    • ShaveTheWhales

      As I recall, ttommy advanced bank robbery as a retirement strategy a couple of weeks ago. Made me think. Do you suppose Mr Varone is a reader of teh Wonkette?

  • Mahousu

    So we really are back in the 1930's? Except our current Depression gangsters don't dress as nicely, And no DeSotos for getaway cars.

  • SenileAgitation

    Criminals want free health care.

    • not that Dewey

      And people in Hell want ice-water.

    • When free health care becomes a crime, only criminals will have free health care.

    • Rapists get free healthcare in this country, if you are raped in Arizona it costs around 12k dollars for 3 days in ICU, my friend experienced this in the late 90's. It ruined her credit for years.

  • Radiotherapy®

    He could have just went to the ER. Just sayin'.
    I guess he wasn't patient enough.

    • zhubajie

      Ever tried to get treatment at the ER without insurance? You get contemptuous treatment at a high price.

      • SorosBot

        Just a few weeks ago in fact! And I've got a total of about $2500 in bills for what amounted to about a 15 minute conversation with a doctor for my moments of panicking and thinking I was suffering heat stroke which turned out to be just dehydration that I recovered from during the several hours of waiting.

        • Well now, that's your fault for wanting to be healthy when you're not rich, isn't it?

        • Every single renter my sister has done a credit check on in the past 2 years has come up with unpaid medical bills. Almost everyone has them now, this country when it finally passes single payer healthcare is going to have to address this issue.

          • SarcasticNymph

            I hope your sister still rents to them.

  • ThundercatHo

    America, meet Joe the Robber.

  • FNMA

    So, how soon until Ryan and his crew introduce legislation to cut off medical care for prison inmates?

    • If you have been reading outside the liberal blogosphere lately, the amount of mouth breathers who feel qualified to pontificate on what to do with illegal immigrants, homosexuals, socialists and the like has been rising and it usually takes the form of a convoluted revenge fantasy where they personally slaughter everyone that disagrees with them. The vitriol is rising pretty quickly, this next presidential election might be the last straw, I might just move to Canada, I spent 7 years under Bush researching about it and considering it.

      • horsedreamer_1

        You know who else was filled with vitriol & initiated a revenge fantasy of slaughtering his enemies?

  • DaRooster

    With all the Fuck-Tards around he could have beat the shit out of and he goes for a dollar? Hell, I would have given him a ride and a list of numbskulls that need their asses kicked…

  • Moral of the story: Only the big criminals reap the rewards.

    P.S. Bankrobber.

  • Lucidamente1

    You know this means they're gonna get rid of prison hospitals. ("Prison: The Last Bastion of Socialism?" John Stoessel investigates.)

    • hooray4anything

      We do pay for their health care after all

      • Noman

        Obamacare will be almost as good as prison medical care.

        • Ducksworthy

          Noman has 125p? In what universe does his inanity pass for wit?

          • I guess you'd find a poster more intelligent if he posted something like:

            "All of them, Katie."

            "I'd hope Cheney has a heart attack, except the undead like him don't have hearts."

            "Barry has a humongus dick."

            "I bet all those teabaggers want poor children to die working in the mines 14 hrs/day 7 days/week."

            "Remember Enron!"

            "Racist homophobe"

            "Bristol….Sarah….Trig….moose hunting….drunk date rape…."


            "Reagan raised taxes."

            "Democrats tried to pass legislation that would give us free, clean energy, but they were filibustered…"
            Yeah, we know all about what passes for wit inside the libunatic herd.

          • Fuck Toad

            Yes, Sarah Palin is stupid. We get it.

          • karen

            "All of them, Katie." will never get old. It's even better because it's not something we made up.

  • SorosBot

    Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses? We really are gonna party like it's 1899 here.

    • Boss Tweed is in the hizouse!!

    • SorosBot, I think your pee needs to see the doctor. What happened?

      [Later] – Oh, it's back.

    • mumbly_joe

      Dickens wept.

  • baconzgood

    This actually works. With the high prison population and health care merging in one big american Apple pie wrapped in a flag flown to us in the talons of a bald eagle atop of which Sarah Palin is riding toppless.

    OH say can you see….By the Dawn's early light…

    • flamingpdog

      I wuz feeling really patriotastic there, baconz, til you gots to the Sarah riding topless part. Hoping that Dawn is prettier.

    • zhubajie

      I don't want to see Sarah Palin topless! :-(

  • Newt Gingrich going through the next stage of his life cycle, now Callista has sucked him dry.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      I was expecting she'd bite his head off. What weird species ARE these creatures?

  • UK, so no prime time nudity, sorry.

    • But lots of public sex.

      • horsedreamer_1


        • There are terabytes of tumblr pages on that (seemingly) odd pastime.

    • hooray4anything

      No, that'll still work. You guys are still a socialized (for now) European country with decent health care (for now) and I'm watching "Being Human" so I know there's definitely nudity out there that isn't just for HBO. Plus, I love soccer. Win/win. The only issue I can see, though, is I do not care at all about some Pippa Middleton or this "Cheryl Cole."

      • Many of us don't care about them either, just keep quiet, don't pass judgement on our weird celebrity culture and it'll be cool.

        • Biel_ze_Bubba

          YOUR weird celebrity culture?

          • Yes. I know you have one too, but ours is different and will probably have amusing aspects to you.

    • finallyhappy

      Really but I remember naked breasts on British TV?

      • Prime time on UK TV is 7-9 pm, after that boobs are fair game.

        • We only get to see hairy man boobs on our tv, which arguably damage children far more than a nice perky female rack ever could.

    • Nothingisamiss

      Too cold. I'm holding out for Australia.

      • Australia puts me off because of those terrifying fucking killer jellyfish.

      • Peace in our time

        It's not cold in Australia?

        What about the snow on the Alps we learned about in the home-schooling picturebook?

  • hooray4anything

    Insert comment about who he voted for in the past several elections…

  • I'm sure the Repubicans and TP'ers are shocked, shocked to learn prisoners sent to government-run prisons by government-run police and government-run courts can get government-run health. For free! That seems almost like the Christian thing to do. So they'll be against it.

    • flamingpdog

      Just so long as none of those Rethuglicans visits anyone in those gubmint-run prisons. That would be so un-Christ-like. Or give them food. Or drink. Or clothes. Or visit them when they're sick … or, oh, phuck it ….

  • Thurman Munster IV

    When only outlaws get health care, then health care will be outlawed. Or vice versa.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Hallelujah — our storied heroes of yore ride again! Okay, we were sorta hoping for more George Washington and less Jean Valjean, but we'll take what we can get.

  • SorosBot

    That also only works if you need emergency treatment, or care for a short-term problem; if you get something like cancer that requires long-term care you're just plain fucked.

    • Crank_Tango

      where did your peez go?

      • flamingpdog

        Your peez are back, SB – which bank did you knock off?

        • SorosBot

          I think it was the image of that shirtless Ron Paul that made my p-ness shrink; but it's all back now.

    • zhubajie

      Why do you think there are so many faith healers in the US? They service a lot of desperate people!

  • KeepFnThatChicken

    Someone on the right probably thinks he's just gay, and lookin' for the unending sexual smorgasbord of prison life.

  • arihaya

    fuck Bernie Madoff,,, he swindled billions and get a free healthcare for 150 years

  • flamingpdog


  • glamourdammerung

    U S A ! U S A ! U S A !

  • Gopherit

    This might be the only way someone could get out of going to jail in AZ. Commit a crime, say it was for sweet medical care, and get set free.

  • flamingpdog

    Why do you think the Rethugs are denying the existence of global warmification?

  • jus_wonderin

    Well, the alternative is to bundle up the millions of plastic water bottles we throw in the landfill and set them adrift on those. We could even make them create their own post-consumer waste flotillas.

    • Goonemeritus

      You sir are missing out on your true calling, Any number of Libertarian think tanks should be clamoring for your services.

    • zhubajie

      I think there a giant plastic bottle floe, mid-pacific….

      • Yes, there is. One in the Atlantic too. They are roughly the size of Texas. which gives me an idea….

  • jus_wonderin

    It is a novel idea. I'd try it (if ever in a pinch) just as long as I have a big burly protector in the Pen. For the life of me I don't know what I could pay for that protection, though. Cigerettes? Damn I would be in a pinch again.

    • Most county jails in civilized parts of the country are relatively low violence. It is only when you move to places with massive influx of non-violent and violent prisoners because of mandatory sentencing laws where you have problems.

      40% of prisoners in some Texas prisons are raped, 60% when you go to the juvenile facilities.

  • Numbat_Dundee

    How about getting yourself arrested for assaulting a Koch brother, with a large dildo? Just an idea.

    • flamingpdog

      Are you certain he'd file charges?

  • Sue4466

    Only way to get free healthcare is rob a bank or run for Congress. He made the right choice.

  • Guppy06

    While this has the potential to develop into a category 5 media shitstorm, this is still just a tropical clusterfuck, and will be until we start learning more info, like:
    Did he have any other options that he missed along the way to incarceration?How different would things be in 2014, if any?
    So I'm going to hold off for a week or so before I start stocking up on milk and toilet paper.

    However, conditions are looking good for an intense "I told you so!" from Alan Grayson.

    • sati_demise

      he would probably qualify for medicaid in 2014….single people get in!

    • Medicaid in his state is on a lottery system and being scaled back. He would be lucky to get anything within 18 months.

  • Rotundo_

    Do you honestly think that we would send people out on artificial ice floes made of plastic bottles if they become infirm and unable to work? The republicans would never stand for this. The ice floes would have to be constructed of Georgia Pacific corrugated cardboard formed by Dixie into ice floe shapes so that the Koch's could get some of that sweet government money when we get set adrift. The bonus is that the cardboard breaks down much more rapidly and releases the soon to be deceased into the water to keep our endangered shark populations fed. It's all about the profits.

  • ttommyunger

    If he's still got his looks at his age, Bubba will shove something so far up his ass it will feel like it is portruding out of his chest.

  • That is a particularly happy thought, thanks.

  • Costs 1/3 of a billion dollars to kill someone in California, but I'm sure the Tea Partiers think its worth it.

  • horsedreamer_1

    & I weep for the tranny hookers of Janesville. They're going to get tore up.

    • SarcasticNymph

      Not too many tranny hookers – if any – in Janesville. But plenty of unemployed ex-auto plant workers, and beer swilling Germanic descendants.

  • Ducksworthy

    Privatize health care
    Privatize the prisons

  • sportshort

    Put all of us in jail and let the criminals go free. They'll all die without health care. Problem solved.

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