This story is kind of ironic. In a morally sick America in which -- well, until 2014 -- health care is still a privilege for the wealthy, a man felt the need the need to threaten the life of the man responsible for the Affordable Care Act in order to stay alive.
A homeless man who was arrested after threatening the life of President Barack Obama claimed that he only did so in order to get needed medical attention.Mr. Espalin crafted his threat after a Boca Raton hospital felt his life unworthy of being saved given his lack of health insurance:
The prisoner, 57-year-old Stephen Espalin, reportedly told the court his story Friday while addressing Senior U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp.
“I would have no intent to hurt the president,” Espalin was quoted as saying by the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I realize it wasn’t the right thing to do. I uttered those words knowing the [federal agents] would come and take care of me.”
His threat allegedly extended to Obama’s family – his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Sasha and Malia – and their dog, Bo. He had also claimed to police that he sent a heat-activated bomb to the White House to commit the murders.
Espalin additionally told the court that, before uttering the threat, he had tried to get treatment for chest pains at a hospital in Boca Raton, but was being ejected from their care after hospital officials discovered he had given a false name and lied about having health insurance.This was not Mr. Espalin's first time trading hard time for health care:
The paper also learned that Espalin has used this trick before. He had allegedly threatened former President George W. Bush in 2001 – also in hopes of receiving medical care – and served 18 months in a federal prison for doing so. And he had threatened Obama and his family in the past, during a particularly cold day in December of 2010.It's pretty silly how Tea Party folks claim that ObamaCare robs one of their freedom when, for Mr. Espalin, it was a choice of freedom or death under the current non-system of American health care:
The judge sentenced Espalin to a total of four years and three months in a federal prison – the maximum sentence for his infraction. He was also reportedly ordered to undergo mental health treatment.Things will be better in 2014, but the homeless and destitute will still fall between the cracks in a country that feels preserving the existence of private health insurers is more important than creating a truly universal health care system.
But ultimately, Espalin’s plan worked – the Sun-Sentinel reported that he now has a wheelchair, and underwent chemotherapy treatments while awaiting sentencing in the federal facility. He will also allegedly go through heart surgery.
And, certainly, if Rick Scott refuses to expand Medicaid in Florida, it will surprise not a soul if President Obama is on the receiving end of another death threat from Mr. Espalin.