States Signing Up Prison Inmates for Obamacare
Cash-strapped states like Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio looking to offload costs onto the federal government are signing up prisoners for Obamacare.
As Fox News reports, at least six states are "taking advantage of a little-known provision that lets them shift some of those expenses to the federal government" by "enrolling inmates into a new expanded Medicaid program when they get sick." Many more states are expected to follow.
States are also enrolling incarcerated criminals in Obamacare before they are released so they will have taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage before re-entering society.
Even former Democratic North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad says the practice raises serious concerns.
"It starts to look a little like a scheme by the states and local jurisdictions to avoid responsibilities that are really theirs," said Conrad.
States are already making the Obamacare enrollment part of their prison protocols. In President Barack Obama's state of Illinois, the largest jail complex in the country, Cook County, has processed over 13,000 insurance applications since last April. Over 2,000 prisoners have already bagged coverage following their release, sheriff's public policy official Marleza Jentz told Fox News.
Forbes writer and health care expert Avik Roy says the new Obamacare prisoner enrollment strategy stands to alter long-held social values and incentives.
"The political element of Obamacare is that we were helping what we called the deserving poor or what we used to call the deserving poor. A group of people who are just down on their luck...bring them the opportunities they need to get ahead and get back on their feet," said Roy. "And sometimes that's true of people who served time in prison, and sometimes it's not."
Obamacare will cost U.S. taxpayers $2.6 trillion over the next ten years.