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Prisons signing up inmates for benefits under health act

By New York Times

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:21 p.m. HST, Mar 09, 2014


In a little-noticed outcome of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, jails and prisons around the country are beginning to sign up inmates for health insurance under the law, taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that allows states to extend coverage to single and childless adults -- a major part of the prison population.

State and counties are enrolling inmates for two main reasons. Although Medicaid does not cover standard health care for inmates, it can pay for their hospital stays beyond 24 hours -- meaning states can transfer millions of dollars of obligations to the federal government.

But the most important benefit of the program, corrections officials say, is that inmates who are enrolled in Medicaid while in jail or prison can have coverage after they get out. People coming out of jail or prison have disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases, especially mental illness and addictive disorders. Few, however, have insurance, and many would qualify for Medicaid under the income test for the program -- 138 percent of the poverty line -- in the 25 states that have elected to expand their programs.

Health care experts estimate that up to 35 percent of those newly eligible for Medicaid under Obama's health care law are people with histories of criminal justice system involvement, including jail and prison inmates and those on parole or probation.

"For those newly covered, it will open up treatment doors for them" and potentially save money in the long run by reducing recidivism, said Dr. Fred Osher, director of health systems and services policy for the Council of State Governments Justice Center. He added that a 2009 study in Washington state found that low-income adults who received treatment for addiction had significantly fewer arrests than those who were untreated.

In Chicago, inmates at the Cook County jail are being enrolled in Medicaid under the health care law as part of the intake process after they are arrested; the county has submitted more than 4,000 applications for inmates since Jan. 1. In Colorado, state prisoners are being signed up when they need extended hospitalization; 93 applications for inmates and 149 for parolees have been submitted so far. In the Portland area, more than 1,200 inmates have been enrolled through the state exchange, Cover Oregon, while Delaware and Illinois expect to start soon.







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st1d wrote:
so, this was the population that needed health care coverage. for this, obama's democrats shut the government down, twice.
on March 9,2014 | 03:44PM
serious wrote:
Let's pass it and see what it says!!! Keep voting Democratic!!
on March 9,2014 | 04:05PM
DiverDave wrote:
Eric Holder recently announced that he wants to let convicted criminals that have served their time vote. Interesting correlation?
on March 10,2014 | 08:21AM
HD36 wrote:
Sounds like another utopian solution until you realize it only works while interest rates are at historic lows. At $17.4 trillion dollars of national debt, and another $75 trillion of unfunded liabilities, the interest payments on the debt would exceed the entire military budget if they simply normalized to 6% on the 10 year US Treasury Bond.
on March 9,2014 | 04:17PM
DAGR81 wrote:
good job, obama
on March 9,2014 | 04:28PM
cojef wrote:
Wow, thought prisoners all had free health care provided by the State. Enroll the prison population to meet your objective's goal. A new low for the purpose of boosting the enrollment numbers. Another debacle in the making, pass State costs to the Federal Government with new entitlements. This is the "new fundamental change" Obama mouthed in his inaugural speech and the much publicized, pass it now and we will find out what's in it later, ACA law. Taxpayers are being driven to the poor house.
on March 9,2014 | 05:01PM
serious wrote:
Well, since only 1/2 of the population pays taxes!!! The burden is on the people who vote Republican.
on March 9,2014 | 06:17PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Thanks, so the republicans are the rich.
on March 9,2014 | 07:24PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Well cojef, if your driven to the poor house, at least Obamacare will take care you.
on March 9,2014 | 07:23PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Obama needed to pass health care coverage so that he could thank his millions for voting him into office in 2008. Scratch your back if you scratch mine. The effects of this legislation will not be known until we are all pushing daisies. For example, did FDR foresee that his Social Security Numbers would be the vital link in our Identities nowadays? Perhaps 50 years from now if both or one of Sasha and Malia are still alive, they can proudly or not, point to their Dad for the success or failure of the USA. By the way, what were The Republicans saying the time of The New Deal by FDR? I guess nothing, because of the crash of 1929, led by Hoover. So despite the dire consequences of World War II, we are still alive and well. The basic premise of our government though is to keep law and order, and it seems too much law and order, in the wrong places, will compromise our way of life, such as downsizing the Military, when we really don't need to, or are not supposed to, in this age of terrorism.
on March 9,2014 | 08:20PM
HD36 wrote:
FDR also didn't think that life expectancy would increase by 20 years and the government would rob the fund to build aircraft carriers. He also didn't think it would turn into one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in history. But then again, when has our government looked much beyond the next election?
on March 9,2014 | 09:53PM
Anonymous wrote:
The whole point of obamacare was so that everyone would have health insurance. So either these prisoners would be covered 1) by the state (so your state taxes go up); 2) by Obamacare (so your federal taxes go up); or 3) by emergency room services (so the insurance premiums go up for those who pay insurance). Their healthcare coverage has to be covered somewhere. Did anyone really believe that the healthcare tooth fairy was going to create free healthcare by sprinkling pixie dust?
on March 9,2014 | 09:20PM
SteveToo wrote:
Whoopy Do. Don't ya just love Obama Care???
on March 9,2014 | 10:26PM
Winston wrote:
Happy criminals. Happy to get coverage. Happy public to reduce repeat crime sprees. However, if you slip up with some "anti-Obama rhetoric, you may end up in the Big House due to an IRS audit.

From the Wall St. Journal under the heading of News the SA Doesn't Think Worth Publishing, is the following:

"On September 18 USA Today, in a front page story, reported the following: "Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about 'anti-Obama rhetoric,' inflammatory language and 'emotional' statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status."

As Maximus said in the arena, are you entertained?


on March 10,2014 | 07:38AM
DiverDave wrote:
The "system" is gaming the "system"!
on March 10,2014 | 08:18AM
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