Report: States Enrolling Prison Inmates in ObamaCare
Here's a portion of the Bloomberg report:
At least six states and counties from Maryland to Oregon’s Multnomah are getting inmates coverage under Obamacare and its expansion of Medicaid, the federal and state health-care program for the poor. The fledgling movement would shift to the federal government some of the more than $6.5 billion in annual state costs for treating prisoners. Proponents say it also will make recidivism rarer, because inmates released with coverage are more likely to get treatment for mental illness, substance abuse and other conditions that can lead them to crime.
“When someone gets discharged from the jail and they don’t have insurance and they don’t have a plan, we can pretty much set our watch to when we’re going see them again,” said Ben Breit, a spokesman for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
The still-small programs could reach a vast population: At the end of 2012, almost 7 million people in the U.S. were on parole, probation, in prison or locked up in jail, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 13 million people are booked into county jails each year, according to the Washington-based National Association of Counties.
As the Obama administration touts the millions who've applied for coverage since the Affordable Care Act went into effect Oct. 1, Johnson referred to one study showing one-third of the new Medicaid enrollees will be inmates, parolees or people just released from prison.
"Who are the people that have signed up so far? Are they jail folks? Don't know," he said. Doocy pointed out that the data on enrollees has been hard to get from the administration to this point.
Johnson explained that more and more states could look to sign up inmates for the expanded Medicaid system so that they can pass the health care costs on to the federal government.
Supporters argue that by making sure inmates have coverage when they are released, it will make them less likely to re-offend and end up back in jail.
Do you agree?