In a shocking and sad story that points to a big reason we need Healthcare reform in the USA, Casey Smitherman, superintendent of Elwood Community Schools, has been arrested on fraud charges.
The school administrator claimed an ill student was her son in order to get him healthcare coverage.
Smitherman returned to her job on Thursday, January 25th, after turning herself in to police.
Smitherman told ABC Indianapolis:
"I did this with the intent to help a child."
"I'm not saying I was right, I'm really sorry, just I was scared for him."
Superintendent charged after lying to get care for a sick student www.youtube.com
Smitherman says she was looking after the student for the better part of the year by purchasing him clothes and cleaning his home.
One day, when he was sick and didn't show up for school, she became concerned.
When she found him and it became clear that he had strep throat, she took him to a medical clinic in Elwood and checked him in as her son because he doesn't have insurance.
#CaseySmitherman deserves an award. She's an educator going above-and-beyond; can't believe the DA brought charges.… https://t.co/ubsPNbRgK5— Sara Geenen (@Sara Geenen)1548351626.0
Ms. Smitherman..this incident has not undermined my trust in you...it has DEEPENED my trust in your care for this c… https://t.co/5Ie44qXOQe— Swirling Archer (@Swirling Archer)1548356660.0
Just a shoutout to Casey Smitherman for choosing true common decency and loving care for her student, over toe-ing… https://t.co/MBkktMfMe7— Kat Burdick (@Kat Burdick)1548359585.0
Casey Smitherman, superintendent of Elwood Community Schools in Elwood, Indiana is the type of person I want in cha… https://t.co/GxEbA3YsWT— Kevin Regan ☘️ (@Kevin Regan ☘️)1548344088.0
She then had a prescription filled under her son's name for the boy. But somehow, word got out at school and Smitherman was forced to turn herself in.
Smitherman reportedly reached a deal with the county prosecutor. If she does not get arrested again within the year, the fraud charges will be dropped.
Public opinion is on Ms. Smitherman's side.
@93wibc Compare this to artificially inflated prescription and medical procedure costs and tell me who the real fel… https://t.co/RLstx7uuSj— Michael Zanco (@Michael Zanco)1548358157.0
This angers me a lot. If anything, Casey Smitherman, Superintendent of Elwood Community Schools in Elwood, Indiana,… https://t.co/Met48s2WAb— Samuel M. Gebru (@Samuel M. Gebru)1548331855.0
Casey Smitherman, the #superintendent of Elwood Community Schools in #Elwood, #Indiana, is charged with #insurance… https://t.co/oxX5JTRBx9— Liz Goldenberg (@Liz Goldenberg)1548325073.0
@AlexHolleyFOX29 Can you discuss the story of Casey Smitherman an Indiana school superintendent who fraudulently us… https://t.co/1nniVM3AgF— Rich Caban (@Rich Caban)1548333070.0
We should all look for little moments to be as courageous as Casey Smitherman. https://t.co/59YZNoOaoZ— Blair Cook (@Blair Cook)1548356105.0
Indiana is one of the states that completely gutted coverage under the Affordable Care Act once Donald Trump introduced a plan which "made it easier to purchase 'short-term insurance plans.'"
Legal Consumer laid out exactly what this means:
"Short term plans don't have to cover preexisting conditions or the essential health benefits provided by Obamacare plans."
"In the past, short-term plans were allowed to last only three months but under new rules you may be able to purchase a non-ACA compliant "short term" plan that lasts as long as three years!
"Calling these plans "short term" is a flimsy loophole conjured up to bring back cheap insurance plans with poor coverage."
Elwood Community School Corp . Casey Smitherman, what an inspirational human being. jokers ,call it fraud after sh… https://t.co/GkhVxBjRL9— Kwesi King (@Kwesi King)1548339269.0
DISGUSTING: School Superintendent Casey Smitherman learned that a student didn't go to school because he was ill wi… https://t.co/NW5gRi2BHZ— Dr. Dame T M (@Dr. Dame T M)1548363988.0
@ElwoodSchools Theres the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Casey Smitherman acted out of kindness and d… https://t.co/fmEKHzxv7r— Prescott (@Prescott)1548328704.0
@Peesha_Deel #CaseySmitherman I’m in tears at the sacrifice you made to help a child in need. We need more people l… https://t.co/5rHrCeEeTS— Eugenia McDowell (@Eugenia McDowell)1548377625.0
Yall can crow about insurance fraud & say "but think about the poor insurance companies" all day long, but my hero… https://t.co/vYtEERILfv— Jason Alston (@Jason Alston)1548353435.0
@AynRandPaulRyan @LaddEveritt My daughter was sick last week with strep and she was miserable and in pain. Bless th… https://t.co/43sRJ4Q1Yg— HighMindfulMama (@HighMindfulMama)1548341265.0
Without proper antibiotic treatment, strep throat can be fatal. Without Ms. Smitherman's intervention, it's possible that child could have died from the infection.
The question remains whether morality and law are in line in Ms. Smitherman's arrest.