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Governor Wants to Give Prisoners Medicaid Benefits Upon Release

Cuomo and the Department of Health believe that the program will help curb the spread of illnesses contracted in prison.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to sign thousands of convicts up for taxpayer-financed Medicaid, which they will receive once they leave prison, according to the New York Post.

The proposal would have all inmates apply for the public health insurance while still incarcerated, according to state Department of Health officials. Those who meet the income requirements would be placed on Medicaid once they are released from prison.

“It’s an extremely liberal approach to benefit prisoners. It shouldn’t be ‘Medicaid on demand.’ It gives the prisoners no incentive to get a job so they can get their own health insurance. This is unfair to the hardworking taxpayers of New York,” state Conservative Party chairman Mike Long told the Post.

The DOH says that the program would help curb the spread of diseases contracted in prison.

“The incidences of communicable and noncommunicable diseases tend to be higher in the prison population. It also prevents unnecessary spread of illness in the community,” said Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, chairwoman of DOH’s Public Health and Planning Council panel.

According to the Post, the DOH declined to say many released prisoners would receive health benefits, but 2010 saw the discharge of 25,308 inmates. In contrast, 2.2 million New Yorkers statewide are uninsured.

Halli October 01, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I work for SSA Disability, and when I began there four years ago, I was terribly confused by the many emergency room visits in the records that I go through daily for issues that are not at all emergencies. I then learned that people without health insurance go to emergency rooms for totally non-urgent medical care because they have to be accepted there for treatment. We, the taxpayers, end up paying for these emergency room visits. As a taxpayer, I am NOT ok paying for these outrageously expensive emergency room visits when an ounce of prevention is literally worth a pound of cure. I would rather see medical care like this offered in advance to help people get back on their feet rather than leave things untreated and unchecked until they spiral out of control, unable to transition to a more successful life, and requiring the aforementioned emergency room visits. Prison is only useful if it rehabilitates as well as punishes, and "produces" reformed criminals that actually have options to help them turn to a productive, civil life. Therefore, I'd approve of this idea.
Robert L. Rapuano October 02, 2012 at 10:18 AM
This certainly does not address any issues about ER visits. Nor does it address issues about cirminal reforms. It does make going to prison a benefit. This is more "liberal" thinking about addressing a "problem" that doesn't exist or is right on the fringe of the multiude of issues that need to be addressed.
cmjake October 02, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I agree with Halli.
Harriet Brown October 02, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I think that Governor Cuomo might be right to give released prisoners healthcare for a while, until they get on their feet. The important thing is that they DON'T go back to a life of crime.
chrissy remy trail October 02, 2012 at 04:50 PM
dss does automatically provide medicaid&NOT because theyre infected in any way from FILTHY conditions in prisons in this state!Youre ORDERED to DSS&get $309 for a room >good luck finding a room!youre considered an indigent person so you DO qualify.IF you think you can live on what DSS provides>think again!I'm an exoffender&was sent 2dss thru probation so they could try and hit me up for payments to a program i was sent to in case you ppl didnt ay for my USELESS program>id refused to admit my supposed opiate use,i got mandated for a ROLL >I offered them my BLOOD for testing and was refused&forced intoa program where the best part mrs taxpayer>YOU got to pay to test me several xs a week>yup thats right& the best was between program AND probation>in one week?They urine tested me 3times&breathalized 2xsYup i passed>IM CLEAN OVER 10YRS.This is part of a game>IF you dont go to dss>you violate!No housing&you violate>im worth more IN than OUT ok?Before&since my arrest i was employed&then got UIbenefits later because i QUALIFIED!As a single person in the US>i do pay the most taxes>no deductions such as a pack of kids ok?Im also a FIVE TIME CANCER SURVIVOR & guess what?I didnt qualify for help when i had UI for my 13 biopsies&chip implant this spring!Prison is for rehabilitation NOT retribution regardless what everyone thinks&we dont need to pay forever 4 our crimes?>at over 40,000 for men&over 35,000 for a woman inmate!So>check the #s honey>NYS prison system is robbing you!NOT ME!!!
Robert Gerage October 02, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I find it interesting that Governoro Cuomo intends to give ex-convicts access to Medicaid, yet, he VETOED a bill last year to restore health benefits to the retirees of NYC OTB. He claimed he vetoed it because there was no funding. This year, the Legislature included funding for those same retirees in the annual budget, yet he deliberately removed that funding. Then the Legislature AGAIN passed a bill to restore health benefits to NYC OTB retirees, which includes funding for same, yet, he has not signed the bill, even though it passed in the third week of June. Here's a tip, Andy - SIGN A9869. Retirees are suffering and DYING without the very beneftis they worked and paid for! Do the right thing!!! If convicts deserve healthcare, don't hardworking tax payers?

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