Couple dead in apparent murder-suicide left notes saying they couldn’t afford medical care, police say

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snuffy

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By Marisa Iati
August 10 at 11:46 AM
A Washington state couple whom authorities believe died by murder-suicide reportedly left several notes expressing worry that they could not afford treatment for the wife’s severe medical issues.
The husband, 77, called 911 shortly before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and told the dispatcher that he planned to shoot himself, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. The man said he had written a note for the sheriff with information and instructions.
The dispatcher tried to keep the caller on the phone, according to authorities, but the man said, “We will be in the front bedroom” and hung up.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the house near Ferndale about 15 minutes later and tried to contact the residents with a phone and a megaphone for about an hour, authorities said. They said deputies then used a robot-mounted camera and saw the couple, who were dead from gunshot wounds.

The couple has been identified as Brian S. Jones and Patricia A. Whitney-Jones, 76, Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel told The Washington Post. Jones shot his wife once in the head, then himself three times, Goldfogel said.
Authorities said they impounded several guns from the home and brought two dogs to the Humane Society for care.
“It is very tragic that one of our senior citizens would find himself in such desperate circumstances where he felt murder and suicide were the only option,” Sheriff Bill Elfo said in a statement. “Help is always available with a call to 9-1-1.”
Health-care spending in the United States has been increasing for decades, and costs for senior citizens are higher than those for citizens as a whole, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

An average of $18,424 per person was spent on medical care for people ages 65 and older in 2010 — five times the spending per child and three times the spending per working-age person, a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says.


Democratic presidential hopefuls say Medicare-for-all would be less expensive than the current health-care system. But it's not that straightforward. (Atthar Mirza/The Washington Post)
Roughly 65 percent of senior citizens’ medical costs are paid for through government services such as Medicare, which covers almost all seniors, and Medicaid, which covers low-income people and families. Health-care expenses more than double between ages 70 and 90.
 

CocoCincinnati

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#2
The Dems want us to believe medicare for all is the answer? Perhaps we should ask them to prove they can make it work just for seniors first before throwing our private insurance in the trash can.
 

snuffy

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Maybe health insurance should be on the open market like car, life and home owner insurance? How would it change if they knew people could truly shop for it?
 

oks10

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Maybe health insurance should be on the open market like car, life and home owner insurance? How would it change if they knew people could truly shop for it?
It would likely be more affordable (not cheap, just less expensive) but would cut into their bottom line, which they won't allow the congressmen who's pockets they're lining to let happen...
 

Donnyboy

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There's about a million things these old folks could've done besides kill themselves. And if at 76 you see a life of shitting your pants and doctor visits is all you got and want to punch the big clock in the sky, I'm fine with that too. Maybe this is a story of neglected ederly.....or a story of the care provider not showing all the options.... But this isn't a story about healthcare costs, push come shove they could have just not paid the bill like millions of Americans do.
 

snuffy

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There's about a million things these old folks could've done besides kill themselves. And if at 76 you see a life of shitting your pants and doctor visits is all you got and want to punch the big clock in the sky, I'm fine with that too. Maybe this is a story of neglected ederly.....or a story of the care provider not showing all the options.... But this isn't a story about healthcare costs, push come shove they could have just not paid the bill like millions of Americans do.
As someone who faced bankruptcy over medical bills I understand their mindset.
 

Donnyboy

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As someone who faced bankruptcy over medical bills I understand their mindset.
Right but you could file bankruptcy. I get it sucks but 10 of millions have gone through bankruptcy and didn't commit murder suicide.

And who knows if in this case some aggressive collections agency was lying to them about what would occur if they didn't pay etc etc. It's really sad they truly felt there was no alternative......but there were alternatives.
 

llcoolw

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As someone who faced bankruptcy over medical bills I understand their mindset.
Are you close to the end of the ride? Talking with the wife, I asked the her the same scenario. She's lucky. Even after she's retired, we are covered. Still, 77 years old. Zero chance of getting better even with insurance, "What would we do?" "Check out" was her answer too. Just not violently with a gun. Sad story all the way around.
 

StillwaterTownie

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Maybe health insurance should be on the open market like car, life and home owner insurance? How would it change if they knew people could truly shop for it?
A lot of people, especially younger people wouldn't even buy health insurance. I don't blame them, since most aren't going to come down with any costly illnesses, though I think they should buy health insurance if they engage in riskier than usual activity such as driving a motorcycle.