Drug War Shame: Severely Ill Man Fired, Cut from Health Care

I just interviewed Joseph Casias, the poor man with an inoperable brain tumor and sinus cancer so bad you can barely understand him when he speaks, who was fired in November by Wal-Mart after he tested positive for marijuana. For the last four months, Casias had been smoking marijuana, which was legally prescribed to him under Michigan state law, to ease his chronic pain –  an  alternative to the pain pills which he complained were habitual and had too many side affects. He never got high before coming to work; for the last five years he was so good at his job, that he was made Associate of the Year and was promoted late last year. He aspired to manager, even district manager, and knew that in in a city like Battle Creek where Wal-Mart is the employer, he was a blessed man.

When he was promoted, Casias — a 29-year-old husband and father of two children, ages 8 and 7 — was finally able to enroll in the Wal-Mart health plan. Up until then, he was one of the country’s 40-plus million uninsured. He told me every 6-month check-up is about $5,000 out-of-pocket. As a result, he is swimming in thousands of unpaid medical bills, and plagued by collection agencies. Getting health insurance was a big step forward for this man and his family. Losing a job in Michigan, which has the highest unemployment in the country, is a tremendous punch in the gut. “I gave them everything I got,” Casias told me.

And Wal-Mart took it — and now more. Conveniently for his employers, they won’t have to pay for his cancer treatment, because they fired him right after he enrolled in the health care plan. To all you people out there who say private industry can solve our health care crisis, I have a GM sedan to sell you. Wal-Mart even wanted to block this guy’s unemployment benefits!

I interviewed Casias as part of an upcoming piece (check back on Tuesday) on the local and state roadblocks facing the medical marijuana movement, but I was so mad when I got off the phone I had to write it out immediately. This is a man who doesn’t know how long he has to live, having to face his young children, fired from a job he worked so diligently and loyally at, for something he was told by the State of Michigan was legal. The fact that a Godzilla company like Wal-Mart, which shamelessly professes “family values” and offers this phony-baloney glossy-photo understanding for families struggling through the financial crisis, can arbitrarily fire a model employee, ignore state law (which was adopted by a referendum of the people!) and rip away his long-awaited enrollment into a legitimate health care plan — is nothing short of an abomination.

68 thoughts on “Drug War Shame: Severely Ill Man Fired, Cut from Health Care”

  1. I normally roam all over the ‘net because I have the tendancy to read often (which isn’t always a great idea because most sites just copy from each other) but I must say that yours contains some genuine substance! Thanks for stopping the trend of just being another copycat site! ;-)

  2. /irony on/ G-d forbid that a wicked sick person get health insurance! If he were not wicked and evil, he'd be rich and healthy, right? /irony off/

  3. The "war on drugs" is the greatest travesty and cruelty the fascist government in Washington has ever played on the American people, making the 1920's 'war on alcohol' look piddling in comparison. It has made millions of citizens into criminals, given us the biggest prison population in the world, vastly expanded state power and turned our police into goon squads. And for what?

  4. The fascist government/industry abomination we have right now is bastard child of these entities. Both the Insurance industry and the government are in bed with each other while plotting fresh ways to "screw" the little people. Time to deep six any notions that either the system as it stands or the hell they have in the wings are in any way good for us. There has to be another way.

    1. "The Insurance industry and the government are in bed with each other while plotting fresh ways to "screw" the little people." You are 100% correct. The day after the House passed the so-called health care legislation, the health care industry stocks went up like a rocket. It's health care alright, it is healthcare for the bank accounts of healthcare corporate CEO's and billionaire Wall Street investors.

  5. You are very confused. Walmart is a private company and is free to hire and fire for any reason, or no reason, and certainly when an employee violates published company policy.

    Your confusion between what the state says is legal and what a private company states are its own personal rules is a disservice that confuses the issue. Walmart is not ignoring state law. There is no state law that requires walmart to have a policy that does not discriminate against users of specific drugs.

    Walmart's drug use policy is not a secret, why anyone would think that it didn't apply to them just because it is legal is just silly. Some businesses have dress codes and you can be fired for not wearing a suit. But it's perfectly legal to not wear a suit, isn't it?

    You have completely mischaracterized this issue. While the whole thing is unfortunate, and it would be nice if Walmart did not mind if its employees took any kind of drug at all, right now they don't.

    What's even funnier is that you blame private industry for the issue, when in fact this travesty you're mischaracterizing occurred because of Government intervention. The tax code was modified to make it so employers would offer health insurance and the health industry would then only work with businesses. Why is health insurance tied to employers? Because the government made it so. What does this new bill do? It ties health insurance to employers EVEN MORE.

    It's very sad that the very original cause of this poor man's issue is also looked to as a savior at the exact moment the original cause is being made even worse. It just can't get any more ironic or backwards than that.

    1. Wal-Mart Destroys Liberty—this notion that only the government is taking away liberty is bogus. Corporations with policies like walmart are more intrusive at time than the government..

      Just because someone is poor and has to work at walmart to get health insurance should not mean that walmart or any employer or any government can tell you how to live your life. What is the difference if it is the gov or walmart that is in your bedroom, medicine cabinet, or refrigerator? It is all oppression of individual Liberty.

      Single payer may equal more individual Liberty.

      1. In the late '80s Ted Turner and CNN led the charge on the matter of corporations being able to control their employees' lives off the clock. Back then, Ted asserted his "right" to fire employees that smoked at home. Well, that withstood the courts and now corporations presume to dictate all sorts of things off the clock.

      2. Walmart can't destroy liberty because nobody is required to work there. Nobody "has" to work at Walmart, just like nobody "has" to shop at Walmart.

        The difference is that the government comes into the bedroom with guns and the threat of violence and jail. All Walmart can do is cancel a contract I voluntarily agreed to.

        They couldn't be more different.

        1. They are effectively the same…if the choices are if I want to use medical marijuana, I have to quit my job and be economically disadvantaged by only being able to find work with companies that don't drug test…I'd say that isn't even a choice for most. They want to use medical marijuana but cant. Very effective population control.

    2. You seem to be far more broadly confused. Private corporate power calls the shots in this country. It pays for elections, owns the media, and bribes handsomely. The system was designed to "protect the minority of the opulent from the majority" (Madison's formulation) and to ensure that decision making remained in the hands of a wealthy elite. The government does not implement the will of the people; it follows the instructions handed down by those who pay for elections. Private corporate power is largely in control of the government, not the other was around. As you are defending Walmart's right to trump the law with its own regulations, you seem to be a lover of private tyranny and show great respect for the self-interested bureaucratic regulations it spawns. Your dismissal of the man's right to use a lawfully prescribed medicine to treat a terrible medical condition is insufferably snide and superior. One in which you can hear quite clearly an echo of Cheney's "So?"

      The strict libertarian views you express are in fact incompatible with democracy. The military industrial complex is fueled by private greed and the power of corporations to determine government policy.

  6. Shop elsewhere and let them know it. They don't own the planet, at least not yet, and have even been forced out of Germany (can you believe it) due to the tough market there. And they're not the only SOB's pulling that kind of stunt on employee's

    1. The Germans actually believe that small business owners shouldn't be plowed under by mega-corporations, and they put that belief into action with their wallets. Americans, on the other hand, will watch and snicker as their neighbors are thrown out of work as WalMart moves in and levels the local economy. As for other SOBs screwing their employees during hard times, yes, it really is the "American Way." This is one example of why I think Americans, as a population, are profoundly unvirtuous.

      1. Agree, many Americans blame the politicians and corporations when they should be looking in the mirror. Sure, they are both crooked, but we could put a stop to it if enough citizens cared.

  7. Just a quick usage note: "guileless" means "without guile," "honest," "sincere." When you wrote "guilelessly" regarding large companies professing "family values," it seems what you really meant was the opposite.

    As for this story, wow. What a poignant and compelling story. Looking forward to listening.

  8. If a company bans you from taking your medicine that company should have its charter revoked and executed and its assets seized. Thank you. Companies exist at the government's pleasure and don't you forget it.

  9. Usage Note: guilelessly writing too fast. Corrected. Thanks!

    FUD: I'm not the only one confused — but maybe in Casias' case the court will have to parse it out. Contrary to your suggestion, there IS a law in the State of Michigan that seeks to tell Wal-Mart "not (to) discriminate against users of specific drugs." It's called the year-old state Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, which states that:

    Sec. 4. (a) A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the qualifying patient possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana, and, if the qualifying patient has not specified that a primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. Any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots shall also be allowed under state law and shall not be included in this amount.

    Wal-Mart would no doubt rely on the ongoing federal prohibition in a civil court case, but to suggest this is a slam dunk for Wal-Mart and that I "mischaracterized the issue" is confusing in itself. Given that I have spotted someone with your moniker making similar comments against postings supporting Mr. Casias elsewhere, it might might be safe to "characterize" you as trolling for the company and leave it at that.

    1. That law brings up an interesting point, I did not see there was such clause law when I read about it. Which law does Walmart follow then? Federal or state?

      You didn't address the main points though, about healthcare being tied to employers being the root cause of this issue.

      I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to "trolling" here or elsewhere. I've given at least 500 dollars to this site over the last few years, and this is the first post I've ever made on it. This is the last post, and those were the last dollars. Don't appreciate being called a troll for participating in the discussion with relevant points.

    2. I lied, I made a few more posts because people responded to my original post. Now I'm done, really!

  10. Libertarians believe that free markets are always the best way to provide the most for the most. I agree this is still true, but this only works when the buyer is in charge. When the seller is in charge, which is the case of health care, banking, and the international corporations, then so called free markets are just monopolies, where the buyers are slaughtered. Health care is a monopoly – the supply of medical practioners is controlled, drugs are controlled, and health insurance are all controlled to effectively produce a monopoly. Ditto banking, ditto radio/TV etc. Why celebrate “free markets” that no longer exist.

  11. a free market approach to health care really doesn't work well for consumers. Its not like buying a car. If, for instance, you need a cancer treatment that could save your life, your demand is high and you'd likely pay much to save your life. If you don't do the deal, you die in such a scenario.

    A capitalistic approach would say this creates opportunities for other doctors, but this assumes that there are other doctors at the time……but the other doctors would still be dealing from an unbalanced bargaining position.

    A straight out capitalistic approach to health care greatly favors doctors. As most patients would give up their fortunes for the opportunity for life.

    If you don't like the price of a car, you buy another or wait. There is no dire consequence.

    1. Food is vital for life. In most instances, one can live longer without medical care than without food. Yet the relatively free market in food, as burdened as it is with government interference, is delivering affordable goods. The free market clearly does not favor farmers and grocers over consumers and neither should it favor health care providers over consumers. That it does is a result of heavy government regulation and monopoly licensing laws whose real intention is not to protect the public but to limit supply for the benefit of the politically influential medical lobby.

      All regulatory agencies are eventually captured by the industries they are meant to regulate for the benefit of the public. Those industries' coercive regulatory powers are then turned to fleecing the public and crippling competitors. Regulation has always been a godsend to established industries. They even beg to be regulated! Health care is no different. For example, the FDA exists not to protect the public from dangerous drugs but to protect the profits of Big Pharma from competition by nutrient supplements, herbs and holistic practitioners.

      Since supplements and herbs cannot be patented, no one could afford to spend hundreds of millions of dollars jumping through the FDA's approval hoops. So, Big Pharma's chemists tinker with natural molecules in order to concoct a synthetic molecule which can be patented. With the FDA's connivance, the public is kept ignorant of the fact that inexpensive, safe and effective natural alternatives are available for almost all of Big Pharma's expensive and dangerous prescription drugs. How many people know that for only pennies a day, vitamin B3 (niacin) will not only reduce blood cholesterol levels but also clear arteries of cholesterol buildup. Compare that to surgery and expensive and dangerous statin drugs! The general population of developed countries suffers from severe vitamin D deficiency which has been traced to cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and all kinds of infections. Widespread supplementation with vitamin D3, costing almost nothing, or better yet, exposure to free sunlight would result in the bankruptcy of most pharmaceutical companies and hospitals! Yet, under the regulatory powers of the FDA to "protect" the public, such truthful statements on bottles of vitamin D3 would result in the arrest and prosecution of anyone selling this "unapproved drug."

      So, as should be evident, unavailable and obscenely expensive health care is not caused by the failure of free market capitalism. It is instead caused by the politicization of health care in order to protect powerful lobbies. Real capitalism would force a collapse in health care costs just as it is forcing a continuing collapse of the costs of computing.

      The latest 2,400 pages of health care reform at gun point will do nothing to increase the supply and quality of health care. But its "free" provisions will increase the demand and consequently escalate costs. If government attempts to legislate prices downward thus producing further shortages, then this vital service will be rationed and the poor will once again suffer as those with money find a means to buy there way to the front of the queue.

      1. When food is in extremely short supply, or heavily monopolized, the free market works to the overwhelming advantage of farmers and grocers. Fortunately, the specific technical level of knowledge needed to be a grocer or farmer is not as high as that needed for a doctor. This is not to say that farmers or grocers are dummies; it does explain why there will always be a lot more of them than doctors. Also, very few people approach their local grocer or farmer in a desperately starved condition. The cheaper grocer an hour away down the road will do just fine. People often approach their doctors, hospitals, and health insurers in a state of grave illness. they don't have time to go shopping.

    2. I agree and have been making this point regularly to the Mitt Romney-ites who think health care can operate like a market. Not only do the normal supply/demand principles not apply to doctors, the hospitals and HMO's also hold a huge amount of power over consumers. I believe health care is similar to a public utility and price ceilings should be put in place as such.

  12. Give Wal-Mart a break, they are the largest employer in America, and I'm sure from time to time the wrong decisions are made by mid level management, just like any other corporation. I believe this will never go to court, as Wal-Mart will agree they cannot ignore the laws of a state in which they operate. If they try, they will find out just how feisty Michiganders can be.

    Wal-Mart offers 4 dollar prescription drugs, why? Cause it's good for their business and hurts competition, that is the free market at work. They have the buying power to negotiate with the pharma industry, that is, money talks. Can you imagine how many families and elderly people have benefited directly from Wal-Marts actions, probably millions. You think the government could do the same? Obviously not, as evidenced by the recent debauchery. The government solution, buy an insurance policy from the guys who pay for our elections.

    1. If walmart can benefit from buying power…the government has more…it is just a matter of political will…how about $3.00 prescriptions mailed directly to you….

    2. I'm sure if the government was selling billions of dollars of plastic trinkets made with slave labor they could afford to give their exploited employees cheap drugs too. Boycott Walmart. Shop at your locally owned hardware/grocery/clothing/department store and keep the money in your local economy instead of in China or in the Walton's wallet.

  13. To all you people out there who say private industry can solve our health care crisis, I have a GM sedan to sell you.

    Oops, this statement is a double non sequitur.

    On another note, even the most fervent libertarian must recognize that laissez faire does not apply to Walmart. It must be firmly regulated or broken up.

  14. Prohibition is a sickening horror and the ocean of human wreckage it has left in its wake is almost endless; Wal-Mart's dreadful behavior towards very ill people is just one of the endless examples.

    Prohibition has decimated generations and criminalized millions for a behavior which is entwined in human existence, and for what other purpose than to uphold the defunct and corrupt thinking of a minority of misguided, self-righteous Neo-Puritans and degenerate demagogues who wish nothing but unadulterated destruction on the rest of us.

    Based on the unalterable proviso that drug use is essentially an unstoppable and ongoing human behavior which has been with us since the dawn of time, any serious reading on the subject of past attempts at any form of drug prohibition would point most normal thinking people in the direction of sensible regulation.

    By its very nature prohibition cannot fail but create a vast increase in criminal activity, and rather than preventing society from descending into anarchy, it actually fosters an anarchic business model – the international Drug Trade. Any decisions concerning quality, quantity, distribution and availability are then left in the hands of unregulated, anonymous, ruthless drug dealers, who are interested only in the huge profits involved.

    Many of us have now finally wised up to the fact that the best avenue towards realistically dealing with drug use and addiction is through proper regulation, which is what we already do with alcohol & tobacco –two of our most dangerous mood altering substances. But for those of you whose ignorant and irrational minds traverse a fantasy plane of existence, you will no doubt remain sorely upset with any type of solution that does not seem to lead to the absurd and unattainable utopia of a drug free society.

    There is an irrefutable connection between drug prohibition and the crime, corruption, disease and death it causes. If you are not capable of understanding this connection, then maybe you're using something far stronger than the rest of us. Anybody 'halfway bright' and who's not psychologically challenged, should be capable of understanding, that it is not simply the demand for drugs that creates the mayhem; it is our refusal to allow legal businesses to meet that demand.

    No amount of money, police powers, weaponry, diminution of rights and liberties, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safer; only an end to prohibition can do that. How much longer are you willing to foolishly risk your own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

    If you still support the kool aid mass suicide cult of prohibition, and erroneously believe that you can win a war without logic and practical solutions, then prepare yourself for even more death, corruption, terrorism, sickness, imprisonment, unemployment, foreclosed homes, and the complete loss of the rule of law and the Bill of Rights.

    "A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."
    Abraham Lincoln

    The only thing prohibition successfully does is prohibit regulation & taxation!

    1. The war on drugs is just another of the endless wars that are required to maintain a hierarchical society. Orwell explained it well in 1984.

  15. "Laissez faire does not apply to Wall Mart" because laissez faire does not exist in this country. It only was the predominat ideology in the decades after the American Revolution, then after the Era of Good Feeling when A Jackson shut down the bank of the US, then to a lesser degree in the Gilded Age. It was never complete laissez faire, it always had to compete against protectionism, high tariffs, threats and realities of interventionist war, government subsidies to favored industry like the railroads, etc.

    But to say that a capitalist approach favors doctors, or that the correct approach is to "firmly regulate or break up " a big industry is misguided.

    First of all, under a free market,the Consumer IS KING. No producer cartel can last for long with a free competitive regime. There will always be willing new competition that will provide higher quality and or lower prices.

    Specifically, the idea that medical care is somehow so different that market forces will not work is fallacious. The EXTREME IDEA that someone is dying and will be "forced" to take what he can get from the nearest shyster doctor is fallacious. You do not make policy over the most extreme examples. Most people who have health problems are NOT going to drop dead tomorrow. They do have time to shop around and make intelligent choices.

    Even today, more than 50% of Americans spend money on alternative medicine. The doctors do not have a complete monopoly. The AMA is a powerful lobby, but there are free market doctors. Look up the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, for example. And, as one commenter pointed out, look at the movement for low cost clinics in Wall Mart, Wallgreens, etc.

    The market is the best way to get higher quality at lowest prices to most people. Now that America is becoming Europeanized, look for more and more Americans to become medical tourists to more free market countries like India and Singapore.

    1. no…the doctor is king when you have a bad tooth ache or other severe pain or imminent death. Maybe in preventative care, I could see a capitalistic model. But in severe pain and/or life or death, what price will the market bear?

      1. So, in the nineteenth century, Doctors routinely fleeced patients in emergencies?
        You seem to believe that high prices during an emergency are evil. They are not, they are a way of rationing supplies to those who really need them. If you mandate low prices in a gas shortage, then the wealthiest will stock up and more folks wont get any.
        Doctors take a hypocratic oath, and most of them are moral people.

    2. While it is true that deregulation spurs entrepreneurship, even Adam Smith believed there needs to be government intervention when firms don't behave in a moral and honest way. Walmart has repeatedly undermined entrepreneurship by aggressively forcing out local competition thereby creating monopolies.

      Regulation in the name of human rights is far more important than growing the GDP. Walmart has shown disdain for human rights in both China and the U.S. Human rights are not good for business. Would you prefer a truly free and open market? What if its was you who was up for sale?

  16. Libertarians (like Milton & Rose Friedman) have their minds stuck in the days when “free enterprise capitalism” mean a guy can save a few bucks and buy a handcart and peddle vegetables in any city. How long would Kroger tolerate that? Try starting your own neighborhood bank? Find an open slot in the radio spectrum and start cranking out a free broadcast. Then tell me about free enterprise.
    Ah, Walmart. I remember when Walmart first came to a town in the Florida panhandle that I lived in. The town built what amounted to free private roads, paved a parking lot and changed zoning to accomodate them. They provided jobs all right – while bankrupting every small merchant in town.
    Let us forever ban the notion of “free enterprise” in this country; the operative phrase is “crony capitalism” and government granted monopoly.

    1. Yes, America is no longer like you say, a place where you can buy a handcart and peddle. I did that in New York City in the 1960's, picking up racks of leather goods or jewelry and selling them on the street. Even then, we had to dodge the cops. I also owned an unlicensed moving company, and the Village Voice refused to turn our names over to the bureaucrats! I doubt you can do that today.

      Nevertheless, libertarians are NOT just nostalgic, but are fighting back. The Institute for Justice has won many lawsuits against these occupational license laws. The internet makes micro entrepreneurship possible, etc.

      As for your rant on WallMart ( everyone loves to bash them, but everyone also loves to shop there), the fact is WallMart does not "bankrupt" every small business, as a matter of fact, and as a matter of economic theory . New studies have shown that small business thrive where there is a WallMart, but even if the cliche were true, the fact is that CONSUMERS choose to shop at WallMART, Wallmart doesnt itself drive anyone out. If Consumers like WallMart because they save money and time, who are you to tell them to buy from MOM AND POP SMALL TOWN?

    2. "Libertarians (like Milton & Rose Friedman) have their minds stuck in the days when "free enterprise capitalism" mean a guy can save a few bucks and buy a handcart and peddle vegetables in any city."

      YOu can still do this in big, bad, China. I shop from hand carts as often as I can.

      "How long would Kroger tolerate that?"

      They don't, of course. Local Krogers and Safeways, etc., pass around campaign contributions to local politicians. In return, they get zoning laws which favor them and forbid hand-cart competition as much as possible. You don't get fresh food, either, the way you can if you buy it from the grower.

      Lester Ness

  17. How this thread is even remotely relevant to antiwar.com's central purpose is beyond me, but, like his style or not, "More Truth Less FUD" brings up some valid points. This is particularly the case with health insurance (and its ever-rising costs) being tied to federal mandates. From its original intent as a World War II cost and inflation-containing measure to its evolution as a tax code-induced "benefit", one no doubt pushed through state legislatures and Congress by the very industries that would secure monopoly profits from it, this government-mandated monster has resulted in a corrupt and incestuous relationship between legislators and insurance/pharmaceutic companies, out-of-control costs for all parties, and ever-worsening quality and availability of care. Absent this situation, and were "health insurance" reserved to address accidental injuries and catastrophic care situations only, affordable medicine and health care in a competitive market would be readily available to all Americans. As it now stands, viable, effective, and affordable alternatives to the current AMA*-controlled system have been outlawed or so punitively regulated as to make them inaccessible. And NO, government regulation DOES NOT, NEVER HAS, and NEVER WILL make medicine any more affordable or safer, as is obvious from today's skyrocketing costs and the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people each year who are injured or die as a result of dangerous GOVERNMENT (i.e., FDA)-approved medicines or from government's failure to approve and legalize life-saving medicines.

    Walmart isn't the real culprit here, but if blaming them for all of Amerika's economic ills makes you feel better, then don't shop at their stores and go give Target your money. Unlike the government, Walmart cannot compel you with the tangible threat of deadly violence to spend your money where you don't want to spend it.

    (*A Rockefeller creation of the late 19th century that sought to monopolize control of medicine)

  18. If you support prohibition then you've helped trigger the worst crime wave in history.

    If you support prohibition you've a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you've helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

    If you support prohibition you've helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you've helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you've helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you've helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you've helped overcrowd the courts and prisons, thus making it increasingly impossible to curtail the people who are hurting and terrorizing others.

  19. To whoever it was that wondered what this had to do with antiwar.com, the article is pointing to the "Drug War" shame. Ric

  20. This could be a blessing in disguise for him. He should sue them (WalMart) on an ADA complaint.
    He is using legal substance because he is disabled and they fired him because he is disabled.
    They have a obligation to accommodate disabled people. This is exactly the same as firing someone because they become blind. You can't do that. This was a big, big mistake for WalFart. The PR problem alone will cost them millions. I can hear the Ka Ching, Ka Ching now…

    1. Bingo! And we have a winner! All so very true. The knee-jerk firing was a dumb-ass thing to do and will indeed cost them heaps. The poor man may not survive his illness but his kids may well be taken care of for the rest of their lives. The law of unintended circumstances appears to be working.

  21. There is alive in Libertarianism, and evidenced by some of the responses here, a soulless penchant for holding free-market ideals to excruciating standards. In reality, there's no reason why healthcare should be catsup – a product we buy or do without. Here's the problem: No catsup? No tomato-based condiment for your fries. No heathcare? …Die. There's no reason for civilized societies to allow their citizens' health to rest on the vagaries of "free enterprise" – which, in reality, is as unattainable a goal as "pure socialism". Government can't be based on ideology so sociopathic. Capitalism can't be human? Germany instituted universal health care in the 1880s, and for all the epic triumph and tragedy that nation has borne and birthed in 120 years, not once did catastrophe stem from its medical delivery system.

  22. i am surprised nobody touched on the fact that wallyworld doesnt sell medical marijuana. wallyworld has the best of both worlds when their best customers are their best employees. as sad as this is i wonder how many wallyworld employees are pressured to spend their hard earned paychecks in the very same buildings in which they work. now imagine management who listen to the bean-counters and force out guys like Casias because he spends his medical dollars outside of what his employers offer.
    am i the only one who sees this?

  23. He has the right to move to a more civilized country which offers health insurance for everyone.

  24. They're not — you're missing the point. Walmart had already agreed to provide health insurance for this individual, as part of their understanding upon hiring him. They then fired him for using the legally prescribed medical marijuana that he used for chronic pain, due to cancer. As part of firing him, they cut off his medical insurance. Get it now?

  25. The dirty little secret the government doesn't want Americans to know is this: the national healthcare legislation that was just passed was authored by the health insurance companies. That is why the Monday following the passage of the legislation by the house, healthcare company stocks shot up like a rocket. Need more info.? Go here: infowars.com

  26. Watch out, the neocons and the theocrats have infiltrated the libertarians. The Republican brand name has been damaged so they are trying to take over the libertarians to continue their dirty business under a new name!

  27. Wal-mart is a christian hillbilly philosophy. ban religion in the USA.

    Christianity is a criminal sect cult that has crept into the american psyche over time.

    Let’s enact a law to ban all religion and teach science instead.

    Then our dear friend will be rescued.

    Ghanja is the most useful plant in our biosphere-today i am smoking an orga

    1. It goes back to the 1630s, I'm, afraid, when tens of thousands of Puritans emigrated. England has some how recovered from it's Puritan Republic days, but the USA has not.

  28. What this looks like to me is that a big industry hitter like Walmart is on the same page as the health care industry. They're both after cutting costs, being able to take money while doing as little as possible to help the people they take the money from. This perhaps isn't exactly the fault of both said industries but perhaps in the way America functions. There are far more benefits for companies and industries to use underhanded methods of cutting costs than attempt to spend the extra money to truly help people. This being said though, I wonder what legalities do come with whatever happened to the man afterwards. I'm sure he can testify it he was using it for his illness in court and have them look over what's going on with Walmart firing him and coincidentally not having to pay for his treatments etc. That brings up another problem which is that of how slow cases can be judged and perhaps he'll have suffered from unemployment and huge debts for too long for the case to help settle anything.

  29. steve martin, Wal-mart is a christian hillbilly philosophy. ban religion in the USA.
    Christianity is a criminal sect cult that has crept into the american psyche over time.

    Let's see, you've managed to bash hillbillies and christianity. As a christian hillbilly who believes in individual liberty and is anti-war; I believe you've painted us with a broad brush, brother.

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