Working Class Now Forced To Hold Up Banks To Gain Health Care

by Kirsten Boyd Johnson

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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Hola wonkerados.

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Also, if you are a new commenter, your comment may never appear. This is probably because we hate you.


Barb June 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

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

bureaucrap June 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

that's a good strategy, because they'd probably want to use the Slim Jim to perform the procedure.

horsedreamer_1 June 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Microwave it, first, for an Hot Beef Injection.

Maman June 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I think you need a federal felony. Launder money

arihaya June 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm

while you are at it, why don't you ask for chin correction,, for medial purpose of course

Madfall June 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

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

Madfall June 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

For love.

bureaucrap June 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm

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

flamingpdog June 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm

One more in the name of love.

elviouslyqueer June 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

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

Madfall June 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm

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

user-of-owls June 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Particularly the Majority Leader, John ASBOehner.

pinkocommi June 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm

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

Madfall June 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

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

Come here a minute June 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

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.

ManchuCandidate June 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Or, Governor of Florida.

Buckminster June 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm

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

SexySmurf June 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

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

Callyson June 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:46 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm

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 June 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm

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

bureaucrap June 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm

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

Giveusabob June 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm

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 June 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Criminals want free health care.

not that Dewey June 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm

And people in Hell want ice-water.

SpurningBeer June 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm

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

Rarian Rakista June 22, 2011 at 6:30 am

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® June 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

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

zhubajie June 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

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

SorosBot June 22, 2011 at 8:08 am

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.

UpFistTroll June 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

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

Rarian Rakista June 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

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 June 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I hope your sister still rents to them.

ThundercatHo June 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm

America, meet Joe the Robber.

FNMA June 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm

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

Rarian Rakista June 22, 2011 at 6:38 am

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 June 22, 2011 at 9:47 am

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

DaRooster June 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm

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…

ifthethunderdontgetya June 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm

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

P.S. Bankrobber.

Lucidamente1 June 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm

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

hooray4anything June 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

We do pay for their health care after all

Noman June 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Obamacare will be almost as good as prison medical care.

Ducksworthy June 22, 2011 at 11:36 am

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

Noman June 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

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.

SorosBot June 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm

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

smokefilledroommate June 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Boss Tweed is in the hizouse!!

GuyClinch June 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm

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

[Later] – Oh, it's back.

mumbly_joe June 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Dickens wept.

baconzgood June 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

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

zhubajie June 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm

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

Madfall June 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm

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

Biel_ze_Bubba June 22, 2011 at 3:18 am

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

Madfall June 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm

UK, so no prime time nudity, sorry.

donner_froh June 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm

But lots of public sex.

horsedreamer_1 June 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm


donner_froh June 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm

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

hooray4anything June 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

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."

Madfall June 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm

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 June 22, 2011 at 3:16 am

YOUR weird celebrity culture?

Madfall June 22, 2011 at 4:41 am

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

finallyhappy June 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Really but I remember naked breasts on British TV?

Madfall June 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm

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

Rarian Rakista June 22, 2011 at 6:28 am

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 June 22, 2011 at 7:57 am

Too cold. I'm holding out for Australia.

Madfall June 22, 2011 at 8:51 am

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

Peace in our time June 22, 2011 at 10:01 am

It's not cold in Australia?

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

hooray4anything June 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm

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

JustPixelz June 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm

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

SayItWithWookies June 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm

where did your peez go?

flamingpdog June 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

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

SorosBot June 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm

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

zhubajie June 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

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

KeepFnThatChicken June 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm

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

arihaya June 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

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

flamingpdog June 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm


glamourdammerung June 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm

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

Gopherit June 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

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

jus_wonderin June 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

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

zhubajie June 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm

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

starfanglednut June 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm

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

jus_wonderin June 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

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.

Rarian Rakista June 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

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 June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm

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

flamingpdog June 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Are you certain he'd file charges?

Sue4466 June 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm

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

Guppy06 June 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm

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 June 22, 2011 at 1:50 am

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

Rarian Rakista June 22, 2011 at 6:44 am

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

Rotundo_ June 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm

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 June 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

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.

Madfall June 22, 2011 at 4:49 am

That is a particularly happy thought, thanks.

Rarian Rakista June 22, 2011 at 6:43 am

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 June 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

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

SarcasticNymph June 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm

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

Ducksworthy June 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

Privatize health care
Privatize the prisons

sportshort June 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

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

onemoretime79 June 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm

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

Rarian Rakista June 22, 2011 at 6:25 am

Only godless Atheists eat babies, I like mine with a nice smear of pap on it.

AJWjr. June 22, 2011 at 10:13 am

I know! 50,000 battered children in this country, and I've been eating them plain?

Ducksworthy June 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

Can I haz that for a bumper sticker?

Fuck Toad June 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Yes, Sarah Palin is stupid. We get it.

karen June 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm

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

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