Jails Signing Inmates Up for Obamacare to Pass Costs to Feds
Supporters argue it helps the criminals and reduces recidivism by giving them health coverage
Being arrested in Chicago for, say, drug possession or assault gets you sent to the Cook County Jail to be fingerprinted, photographed and X-rayed. You'll also get help applying for health insurance.
At least six states and counties from Maryland to Oregon's Multnomah are getting inmates coverage under Obamacare and its expansion of Medicaid, the federal and state health-care program for the poor. The fledgling movement would shift to the federal government some of the more than $6.5 billion in annual state costs for treating prisoners. Proponents say it also will make recidivism rarer, because inmates released with coverage are more likely to get treatment for mental illness, substance abuse and other conditions that can lead them to crime.