BOSTON — Massachusetts could soon join other states that are reaping millions in federal dollars for prisoners’ health care.
All that is required is a change in state law. The proposed change, now before the Legislature, would permit the state to suspend Medicaid coverage of inmates, instead of terminating it after arraignment, as is now required.
If coverage is suspended, when an inmate needs hospitalization for more than 24 hours, Medicaid pays the bill instead of the state, and the state gets at least half the money reimbursed by the federal government.
Proponents of the change tell The Boston Globe that inmates’ health coverage would be reinstated upon release, allowing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, reducing recidivism.
The state Department of Correction spent $98.6 million on inmate health care in 2013.