Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why a Man Robbed a Bank for One Dollar

This week a story about a man robbing a bank for one dollar became widely circulated. KTLA News reports:
A reportedly unemployed, uninsured man robbed a bank for $1 in order to get thrown in jail and receive medical attention.

Richard James Verone, a 59-year-old man who reportedly suffers from a growth on his chest, two ruptured disks, and a foot injury, walked into RBC bank unarmed earlier in June and handed the teller a note that read "This is a bank robbery. Please only give me one dollar." After handing over his note, the man said quietly on a couch while the teller called 911.

Verone, a man with no criminal history according to reports, figured that once he was thrown in jail he would receive the medical attention that he was unable to afford on his own.
The way right-wingers have been responding to this story is predictable.

Many commentators scoff at the man and claim that this story is liberal media ultra hyped-up sensationalism: After all, no one is denied healthcare in the US and the real problem is that medical costs are too high due to Medicare and other interfering government programs. This is a frequent argument by fiscal conservatives: The US should not provide universal healthcare and those that think we need it should stop complaining because we already have it. There is some truth in this argument. If a person calls 911 and gets sent to emergency that person will be cared for even if they are not covered by insurance. Although, can one say that that person will get the same quality healthcare as one with insurance? A few years ago my friend's young daughter broke her arm. She came home with it tied to a board. The the insurance my friend had would not cover giving her a cast until the doctor under his plan would be available. She had to wait to get it properly fixed. This was "healthcare" with insurance! Furthermore, this argument that the government needs to stop interfering with medical care is not honest. Does anyone really think the medical industry will go out of its way to provide cheap affordable healthcare inspired by ethics or the benevolent equalizing forces of the "free market"? I pose a question: Does anyone think an eighty year old grandma with no savings or insurance, who is soon to die anyway, be denied medical attention because she has no money? If you think she must be cared for you believe in universal healthcare. If you don't think she should be cared for you are,to put it in a vulgar term, a dick.

I know, I know, there is a financial crisis. Thomas Donnelly wrote in the Weekly Standard that perhaps even the US military getting socialized healthcare is too much of a social burden. He writes:
Well, if there is a lesson for society writ large, it’s that a universal, single-payer system is a bankrupting system, to the point where the killing-people part[of the military] is in danger of falling by the wayside. Over the past decade, the Defense Department’s spending on health care has tripled, approaching an estimated $51 billion per year. It continues to rise even faster than health care costs in the civilian world, and will push to about $65 billion by 2015 – probably more than 10 percent of the baseline (that is, excluding war costs) Pentagon budget.
He then points out some more "insight" by US officials:
Departing Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been trying to include defense health reforms in his money saving “efficiencies.” This week, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the defense health system is “not sustainable” without higher fees from troops, their families, and the retirees who benefit from very lost-cost programs like “TRICARE for Life.” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed that military health care costs are “eating us alive.”...Arnold Punaro, a retired Marine general and member of the Defense Business Board, a group that advises the Pentagon on its finances, recently summed the problem:

We in the Defense Department are on the same path that General Motors found itself on. General Motors did not start out to be a health care company that occasionally built an automobile. Today, we’re on the path in the Department of Defense to turn it into a benefits company that may occasionally kill a terrorist.
So, the practical thing to do is cut back or cut off medical care to US military. As Donnelly points out, healthcare for soldiers is not important, "The end, the larger purpose, is killing our enemies." Another question I ask is directed to our US military: Is Thomas Donnelly your friend or enemy? With the global class-war being waged from the top against the majority of humanity, there is one important question I direct to the majority of humanity: Who is our real enemies?

Notice these "wise" pundits:

1 comment:

Devin Z. Shaw said...

I guess, for Donnelly, pre-emptive wars don't factor into the spiraling costs of the military?