The state of California is considering having the University of California be in charge of the state’s prison inmate healthcare, which according to state officials “could save $12 billion” over 10 years. Currently, California’s current prison medical care is overseen by a US Federal Court, and this move in an attempt to centralize healthcare and reduce skyrocketing healthcare costs in the prison healthcare system.
This issue of containing prison healthcare costs is not new. As inmates grow older, just like other seniors, their healthcare cost rise.
In Missouri, state lawmakers at a budget hearing explored a proposal to allow elderly inmates to be granted parole and moved into a nursing facility that way they would qualify for Medicaid and Medicare and reduce health costs for the corrections department.
In North Carolina, prisoner healthcare costs were about $230.9 million. A recent audit by the State Auditor showed that North Carolina’s Department of Corrections allows medical providers to dictate the costs of care for inmates. There is a similar proposal being considered in California, which would allow inmates to be paroled whom do not pose a threat and are “medically and physically incapacitated.”
In Virginia, despite the budget crisis the General Assembly argued over, the Virginia Department of Corrections continues to operate its geriatric prisons that resemble mini-hospitals, equipped with medical devices and oxygen tanks.
Healthcare affordability and its financing is critically important, since the older we get, healthcare wise, the more expensive we become, even those behind bars.
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