The words above are those of James Verone, 59, the man who robbed a bank in North Carolina to the tune of $1 in order to gain access to rudimentary healthcare.
Mr. Verone resorted to ‘crime’ after losing his job of 17 years as a Coca-Cola deliveryman. With the notoriously harsh nature of the American healthcare system, the loss of a job can have far reaching repercussions and in Mr. Verone’s case this was no different. Along with his livelihood, Mr. Verone lost his health insurance, which meant he could no longer access treatment for a range of ailments.
This turn of events ultimately led to an increasingly desperate Mr. Verone leaving home on June 9th with the intention to ‘rob’ the local bank. Unlike other criminals, on success Mr. Verone did not flee the bank and there was no grand plan or getaway car, to the contrary, he sat on a chair awaiting the arrival of the police.
Undoubtedly, incidents such as this make it even more of a mystery as to why Obama’s healthcare reforms suffered such a pounding last year before eventually emerging from Congress, albeit seriously watered down.
With regards to Mr. Verone, although, a somewhat light-hearted and amusing tale of ingenuity (Since being in prison Mr. Verone has been tended to by nurses and secured an appointment with a doctor) the fact that an otherwise honest man would have to resort to the most cunning of survival instincts and a feeble attempt at crime for his personal wellbeing signals the broken nature of the American healthcare system and once more highlights the lack of support provided to the poorest in American society. And, perhaps in the land of supposed boundless social mobility, American Dream and all that, this is what makes this episode truly sad.