6.21.2011

He robbed a bank of one dollar to get health care

North Carolina man robs store for a dollar so he can get health care in prison for medical problem
"The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept," he told the Gaston Gazette. "I kind of hit a brick wall with everything."  With little money to his name and many medical problems, including a growth on his chest, two ruptured disks and an unidentified problem with his left foot, he said the "robbery" was his last resort. 
Health care is so important and one of the things that binds Canadians from coast to coast to coast.  We have a good system here, it could be better, yet its not like the USA.  This man was so desperate, run out of options that he robbed a bank of one dollar.  

Now in the USA robbing a bank is very serious.  The guy will likely get several years in jail.  Once in jail, his multiple health issues will finally be dealt with.  Imagine the desperation one must be in to commit a crime so he can get health care. 


I suspect that many of us in Canada find this unreal.  Yet  millions of Americans have no healthcare. Many States are rationing healthcare for the poor. Texas is trying to get out of the federal program of Medicaid all together, a state where 25% of the people have no health care coverage at all. 


I have a friend that works in a upper middle class profession in North Carolina.  He has a first class health care plan.  He only pays five to six thousand a year in co-pays.  He pays for every Doctor visit, every specialist visit.  Last year he had a heart operation.  


After scheduling the operation and a talk to the admitting clerk a week ahead of time he received a call from the accounts receivable department.  They wanted to know how he would be paying his three thousand dollar co-pay.  Would that be by check or credit card, when would they receive the check.  It was that straight ahead.


Now my friend could pay this fee.  He gave them a credit card number and agreed to pay two thirds up front and the remainder after surgery.  He was home only three days after the surgery and they called about the additional money. 


My friend feels very lucky to have his plan, even with the many additional costs he has to pay. He knows that earning an upper middle class salary and having a Cadillac health plan makes him fortunate.  He can pay the co-pays.  Unfortunately many Americans can not.


This same friend comes to Canada every summer. He needed to have monthly tests done on his blood so he could adjust his heart medication.  This is a vital test.  Here in Ontario he would go to a lab, get the test done and receive the results in a week. It cost eleven dollars (the test is free to OHIP card carriers). The same test in the United States cost him seventy five dollars.  


I know we have much work to do to improve our system, yet it is still much better than the USA, especially if you are a middle class income earner or someone with little or no income.  Its vital that we in the next few years, work to protect our public system and not opt for more privately delivered care in this country.


If we go the way Steven Harper wants us to go, I fear for our collective well being.

1 comment:

LauraAnrsnLong said...

I'm going to quote another on this: "To contain rising costs, government-run health-care systems invariably restrict the health-care supply. Thus, at a time when Canada’s population was aging and needed more care, not less, cost-crunching bureaucrats had reduced the size of medical school classes, shuttered hospitals, and capped physician fees, resulting in hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for needed treatment—patients who suffered and, in some cases, died from the delays."

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

The man in question had other options than to rob a bank. We have programs for the poor and the unemployed on a federal level as well as many local programs and non-profit charities. Not to mention, he could have, you know, gotten a job.