Bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduces bill to give inmates Medicaid access

Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would provide inmates with access to Medicaid.

A press release from Rep. Annie Kuster’s (D-N.H.) office stated that passing the Humane Correctional Health Care Act would repeal Medicaid Inmate Exclusion, which keeps incarcerated Medicaid enrollees from accessing benefits and shifts the “cost burden to states and counties.”

Kuster, who sits on the House Subcommittee on Health, was joined by a bipartisan group of House members, including Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), in reintroducing the bill.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

The Humane Correctional Health Care Act had previously been introduced in 2019.

If passed, the bill would require the U.S. Comptroller General to submit a report three years after its passing that went over how many inmates receive medical assistance under title XIX of the Social Security Act; what access inmates had to health care; the quality of services provided; how health care coverage under a state plan affected an inmate’s chances of reoffending; and other information the Comptroller General deemed relevant to the health of inmates.

A new report every five years would be issued after the first report.

“The Medicaid Inmate Exclusion (MIE) is an outdated, flawed policy which contributes to a vicious cycle of addiction, incarceration, and recidivism that devastates families and communities, and drains state and local budgets while harming public health and our economy,” Kuster said in the press release.

The Humane Correctional Health Care Act would help break the cycle by investing in adequate treatment and ensuring individuals who are involved in the justice system have the opportunity to heal, recover, and make valuable contributions to our communities,” she added.

Tags Annie Kuster Brian Fitzpatrick Cory Booker Criminal justice Healthcare reform in the United States Medicaid Penology Recidivism United States prison system
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