When Medicaid expands next year under the federal health-care law to include all adults living close to the poverty line, one group of eligible beneficiaries will be several million men and women who have spent time in state and federal prisons and jails, says Kaiser Health News. Michigan, recognized as an innovator in inmate health care, is expanding its Medicaid program. Officials say funding could help cover the needs of some seriously ill inmates, as well as provide new coverage for released offenders, which could help curb recidivism.
“A significant number have never prepared their own meals. They don't know how to shop, or how to budget,” said Tammy Meek, prisoner reentry coordinator for the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Mi. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mi.) and health subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) have asked the Government Accountability Office to review the effect of the health-care law's Medicaid provisions on former offenders. “We must better understand the true costs of expanding the program to any new population and weigh such costs with the competing interests of our nation's most vulnerable law-abiding citizens,” they wrote.