Cruelty Disguised As Justice

You can lie to get votes or get rich, but not to get healthcare for your kids.

Kevin Breidenbach
3 min readSep 23, 2020

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Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski recently ran a story on his show Secular Talk about a mother in Mississippi who was facing felony charges of fraud for lying about her address to get healthcare for her three children. There are multiple stories coming out every day that highlight the cruelty of our broken system here in the U.S., but the details of this one so perfectly encapsulate one example of the injustice that too many here just take as given, even the best we can do. That’s not only untrue, it’s unacceptable.

In the time between my watching of the Secular Talk segment and going to look at the original story, two more cases were reported on the website of the Fox affiliate who ran the story. The report says that two of the mothers, Nakina Brooks and Nancy Smith, are accused of filing false reports which resulted in TennCare paying $24,000 worth of “fees and claims,” and the third case, that of Nikki Carr, involves “more than $6,000” in funds (note: The TennCare website reports a different, much lower, number for the Nakina Brooks case, “more than $5,000 in fees and claims”). According to the Fox News report, Carr and Brooks are facing up to 24 years in prison, and Smith is facing up to 27 years.

This is apparently referred to as “justice” by Inspector General Kim Harmon.

This is happening in the same country where Steve Mnuchin, who has been accused of fraud more than once, is allowed to be Treasury Secretary, and the president’s entire life story is, essentially, a case of fraud. Oh, and by the way, these three cases are all being prosecuted by District Attorney General Amy T. Weirich, who has been ranked “highest in Tennessee for prosecutorial misconduct” by the Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project.

Save the debate about whether what these mothers did was wrong. It seems that the bigger problem is the system that has us even considering such a debate. According to Joe Biden’s own website, the best we can hope for from Democrats, who are supposed to be the “good guys” on this, is coverage for 97% of Americans, which still leaves millions of those in the worst situations without any coverage. This plan will apparently “protect & build on the Affordable Care Act,” which means it will likely remain more beneficial to insurance companies than patients, and, just like Obamacare, it probably won’t prevent medical bankruptcies among even people who have insurance. Note that they’re using the same “access to healthcare” rhetoric we’ve been hearing for way too long now.

It has been shown that Medicare For All, or some variation on the concept, would save us money, yet we’re told that the only viable option is a system that leaves mothers risking felony charges to get healthcare for their children. And again, this is just one example of how broken the whole system is. Surely we can do better.

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Kevin Breidenbach

Mountain hermit, maker of strange noises. Deeply disturbed, but not surprised. He/him. https://mastodon.social/@noisenerd