Thursday, June 30, 2011

Healthcare. Is it worth going to prison for it?

Mansfield Frazier writes a piece about it for the Daily Beast.

“Imagine a place where you don’t have to pay anything or no more than $5 for a visit to the medical clinic,” Roberto Hugh Potter, an expert in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida wrote in an article about the future of universal health care, “Where your physician-prescribed medications cost you nothing, where there is no penalty for missing work or school to go to the clinic, and where every individual has an absolute right to access and receive “adequate, reactive” health care. Welcome to prison!”
That's right. Prisoners have the right to receive healthcare, and they do receive it regularly, with all their prescriptions paid for. There is a viral story about a man named James Verone who robbed a bank for one dollar, specifically so he could receive healthcare after he was put in prison. After being laid off as a truck driver, he could no longer work his part-time job nor afford healthcare after his back started to hurt him and he had a protruding growth on his chest. It looks like he is not the only person who takes advantage of the system.

Damien Calvert, who was recently released from an Ohio prison for a drug-related murder he committed when he was 18 (he’s now a straight-A student at Cleveland State University, studying nonprofit management), said that part of the reason recidivism rates are so high is due to the lack of access to health care on the streets for parolees. “Guys get out with a week’s supply of their medications,” said Calvert, “and when they’re unable to navigate the health-care delivery system out here in the world, they commit another crime so they can go back to their comfort zone, back to where they know they’ll be kept alive. But there’s something fundamentally wrong in this country when people have to resort to committing crimes to receive adequate health care.”
An experienced, old-school convict would not have robbed a bank for $1 as Verone did; they, instead, would have heaved a brick through the front window of their local Post Office, a crime that’s guaranteed to result in a federal judge giving out a buffalo. For those unfamiliar with the argot, a “buffalo” is a “nickel” uh, five years? Plenty of time to get healthy… and pick up a nice hobby to boot.
Instead of having to get arrested to receive healthcare, wouldn'y a universal system of healthcare be better than this? One in which we all pay into the system and get to reap the benefits of seeing healthcare providers early and often for preventative measures, decreasing the cost overall. Read the whole piece. It's worth it.

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