Top House Republicans now want to know whether the new health care law's expansion of the Medicaid program will include prisoners, adding a wrinkle to GOP complaints that President Obama's health overhaul is unfit for implementation, reports the Washington Times. Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and health subcommittee chairman Joseph Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, signed a letter to Comptroller Gene L. Dodaro on Wednesday that raises concerns about incarcerated persons benefitting from Obamacare.
Their concerns are based on a recent webinar from the Center for Health Care Strategies, which said about 6 to 7 million prisoners would qualify for the provision of the Affordable Care Act that extends the Medicaid entitlement to those earning 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That amounts to nearly one third of those who would likely enroll under the expansion, according to the presentation. The health care law exempts incarcerated people from complying with the individual mandate requiring most Americans to obtain some form of health insurance, but Republican staff says inmates can avail themselves of inpatient treatment if they otherwise would be Medicaid-eligible out of jail.