There’s another group that’s starting to benefit from the Obamacare law – yup, prison inmates. Cash-strapped state and local prisons are increasingly using the Affordable Care Act to pay for their inmates’ medical costs, taking advantage of a little-known provision that lets them shift some of those expenses to the federal government.
So far, Ohio, Illinois and Iowa are among the states trying to offload the rising costs of health care – which include mental health programs – by enrolling inmates into a new expanded Medicaid program when they get sick. Currently, 26 states and the District of Columbia are proceeding with a Medicaid expansion which allows them to extend medical coverage to single and childless adults. Jail operators in at least a half-dozen of those states are then, using that criteria, extending coverage to inmates. The shift means the federal government would pay some emergency costs that used to be entirely covered by the states and counties — plus, inmates are starting to get coverage for when they leave.
Former Sen. Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota who was on the Senate Finance Committee when ObamaCare passed, put his concerns bluntly in an interview with Bloomberg.
“It starts to look a little like a scheme by the states and local jurisdictions to avoid responsibilities that are really theirs,” he said.advertisement - story continues below
Manhattan Institute fellow Avik Roy told Fox News “The political element of ObamaCare is that we were helping what we called the deserving poor or what we used to call the deserving poor,” and “A group of people who are just down on their luck … bring them the opportunities they need to get ahead and get back on their feet. And sometimes that’s true of people who served time in prison, and sometimes it’s not.”
Fox News reported that Under the old Medicaid plan, the federal government would pay 58 percent of the cost of care while the state and local government picked up the other 42 percent. Under the expansion of the Medicaid program under ObamaCare, the federal government would absorb 100 percent of the extra costs for the first three years which would then go down to 90 percent by the end of the decade.
~Rebel Rebellion III%advertisement - story continues below