The man who traded freedom for healthcare

If you haven’t heard yet, a North Carolina man–recently unemployed and uninsured–robbed a bank of one dollar and then patiently waited for law enforcement to arrive. He figured it was the most logical attempt to receive needed healthcare treatment:

I’m sort of a logical person and that was my logic, what I came up with. If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care, then I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care.

The situation reminded me of the Heinz principle. Straight from Wikipedia (by way of Lawrence Kohlberg):

A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife.

Should Heinz have broken into the store to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not?

Interesting parallels, right? Ask yourself this, if you were in the bank robber’s (or Heinz’s) situation, what would you do?

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