It could almost be a joke: “Did you hear the one about the man who robbed a bank of $1 so he could get state healthcare?”

This is exactly what a North Carolina resident in the US did this month. The punchline is, it worked.

After losing his job and, with it, his health insurance, 59-year-old James Verone, who suffers from arthritis, a limp and carpal tunnel syndrome, walked into a local bank, requested the counter staff give him one dollar for a “robbery”, then waited for the police to arrive and arrest him.

To maximise his plight, he wrote to the local paper ahead of his crime, stating: “A bank robbery will have been committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind, but not sound body.”

Mr Verone certainly put his sound mind to good use; since being arrested, and jailed, he has been checked by nurses - and has a doctor’s appointment.