by Cyrus Heravi
Prisons across the U.S. are signing up
inmates for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, transferring a substantial
amount of inmate healthcare costs to the federal government.
Affordable Care Act is allowing
states to extend Medicaid coverage to
single and childless adults, a large part of the inmate population. This means
that standard inmate care is still provided and paid for by the states, but
hospital stays beyond 24 hours will be covered by Medicaid for signed up
one of the biggest effects of millions of new inmates enrolled in Medicaid is
that they will be covered after they
get out. For inmates with health issues that require medication and monitoring,
specifically the nearly 500,000 inmates with mental health issues, this means
receiving much needed help. According to a recent New
York Times article, 35 percent of people newly eligible for Medicaid are
those with a history criminal justice involvement, including inmates as well as
people on parole and probation.
corrections institutions across the U.S., such as Cook
County in Chicago, are making signing up inmates for Medicaid as routine as
fingerprinting and body scans. Inmates with the greatest health risks and
medical history are at the front of the line.
criticism of corrections institutions signing up inmates for Medicaid is that
federal taxpayers will have to pick up the bill for hospital stays and
treatment. On the other hand, more inmates with basic healthcare, especially
upon release, could potentially reduce recidivism by up to 20 percent.
What do you think? Are
corrections institutions taking unfair advantage of provisions in the
Affordable Care Act, or can more inmates on Medicaid only mean less crowded
facilities and safer communities? Let us know your thoughts!
Below are a few articles
from the ABA, the New York Times and Bloomberg that outline these issues in more
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