In Virginia the House Speaker recently blocked Gov. McAuliffe’s attempts to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This not only affects tens of thousands of poor Virginians, but it also might have severe impacts on the prisoner population. A rally tonight in Arlington provides an opportunity to stand-up against the war on the poor in Virginia, which ultimately makes us all less safe.
The New York Times has described one of the little-known impacts of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act:
…jails and prisons around the country are beginning to sign up inmates for health insurance under the law, taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that allows states to extend coverage to single and childless adults — a major part of the prison population.
While people in prison are not eligible for standard health care, it does provide much needed funds to state prison systems to pay for hospital stays beyond 24 hours —
meaning states can transfer millions of dollars of obligations to the federal government.
But corrections officials say that the most important benefit of the program is that inmates who are enrolled in Medicaid while in jail or prison can have coverage after they get out.
People coming out of jail or prison have disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases, especially mental illness and addictive disorders. Few, however, have insurance, and many would qualify for Medicaid under the income test for the program — 138 percent of the poverty line — in the 25 states that have elected to expand their programs.
How much of an impact does this have on the system, in a country where 68 Million people have criminal records, approximately 28 million of thone being felonies that make finding employment next to impossible?
Health care experts estimate that up to 35 percent of those newly eligible for Medicaid under Mr. Obama’s health care law are people with histories of criminal justice system involvement, including jail and prison inmates and those on parole or probation.
“For those newly covered, it will open up treatment doors for them” and potentially save money in the long run by reducing recidivism, said Dr. Fred Osher, director of health systems and services policy for the Council of State Governments Justice Center.
SO MUCH OF OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS ABOUT HOW WE TREAT THE POOR.
Now that Republican leadership in Virginia has blocked Medicaid expansion in the Commonwealth, what will that mean for crime, recidivism, and the prison system in Virginia?
A Message from the Organizers to Medicaid Expansion Supporters –
House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Fredericksburg) refused to allow the House to consider the Governor’s vetoes of budget items related to Medicaid expansion. This continued legislative inaction on Medicaid expansion is just unacceptable. The House has rejected compromise after compromise, and they need to know that we won’t give up the fight for the 400,000 Virginians eligible for health coverage.
Please make your voice heard and join the Arlington House of Delegates delegation, Patrick Hope, Bob Brink and Alfonso Lopez, as well as coalition partners such as Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, Progress Virginia, Young Invincibles, SEIU Virginia, Social Action Linking Together (SALT) and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia this Tuesday evening, July 1st, for a Medicaid Expansion Vigil at 8:30 pm.
- What: Arlington Candlelight Vigil to Close Virginia’s Health Care Gap
- Where: Courthouse Plaza in Arlington, 2100 Clarendon Blvd
- When: Tuesday, July 1st at 8:30 pm (please come 15 minutes earlier to get your candle)
- Who: All are welcome. Speakers will include Delegates Patrick Hope, Bob Brink, and Alfonso Lopez and Virginians who fall into the coverage gap
CLICK HERE to view the event posting on Facebook.
CLICK HERE to view the event posting.