Forget Obamacare; go ‘Cell Blocks for Docs’

James Verone has a chance to become the most famous American bank robber since John Dillinger. Yet, he’s held up just one bank, for a haul of $1.

Verone strolled into a North Carolina bank this month, handed the teller a note demanding that one buck, then sat down to await arrest.

The guy wanted to go to federal prison, because he figured, once in the joint, he could get medical treatment for a growth in his chest which he could not wangle in the outside world.

As Verone told the media types who’ve swarmed this story, “I’m a logical guy.”

And his logic is compelling.

I mean, who needs Obamacare? Once our nation’s surplus of Federalist Society judges gets around to overturning that law, we can use Verone’s brainstorm to attack the problem of the uninsured in a win-win way.

Call it the Cell Blocks for Docs program. As people learn how to commit small, but punishable crimes to access mandated prison health care, think of the employment bonanza for cops, prosecutors, judges. Great for GDP.

And the prison-industrial complex that already works so closely with rural lawmakers will be delighted. More prisoners means more prison construction contracts and prison guard jobs in out of the way places. Like I said, win-win.

A whole new consulting industry might spring up, advising otherwise law-abiding citizens how to commit just the right crime to get them the prison slot they seek. Imagine:

“Hello, Jumpsuit Consulting, how may I help you?”

“Yeah, well, I need gall bladder surgery and I was wondering …”

“Say no more. We can help. First a few questions. Would you prefer federal prison, or state? State ones may be closer to loved ones, but the care is spottier.”

“Uh, federal, I guess.”

“Only nonviolent crimes, or would limited violence be an option?”

“Uh, what kind of violence are we talking about?”

“OK, let me just check the matrix here … gall bladder …. federal … well, our recommendation for your situation would be to throw a brick through the window of a federal facility.  Our advisors can walk you through the scenario.”

I’m just blown away by the simple logic of all this. So much better than all that socialist nonsense about coverage mandates and statewide exchanges, don’t you think?

Chris Satullo is WHYY’s Executive Director for News and Civic Dialogue.

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