California Could Gain $70M for Inmate Health Care Under ACA
California could gain $70 million annually in federal funding for prison health care under the Affordable Care Act, according to a recently released nationwide study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
The California data were based on estimates from the state Legislative Analyst's Office.
Details of Funding
The additional funding would come from Medi-Cal reimbursements for inmates who receive health care outside of the prison system. It would not go toward health care within the system.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Under the ACA, California will expand Medi-Cal to include individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level.
According to the Bee, the additional funding would be a relatively small portion of the more than $2 billion that California spends on prisoners' health care services each year.
However, the $70 million funding estimate differs from predictions made by a court-appointed official in charge of prison health care in California, who said the ACA could save the system $40 million.
The official's estimate is lower partly because of:
- Reimbursements for inmate care services that the state currently is seeking; and
- A decline in the practice of sending inmates to outside hospitals (Thompson, AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/29).