Skip to Content

Affordable Care Act

Medicaid-funded Paraprofessional Services for Criminal Justice Populations

One of the ACA’s goals is the improvement of population health, including the elimination of health disparities. This goal cannot be achieved without addressing the needs of justice-involved individuals, a population with major health disparities and other challenges that impact health. Through Medicaid expansion, the ACA has created an opportunity for many justice-involved individuals to gain health insurance for the first time. Peer support providers could play an important role in bringing justice-involved individuals into the health care system, delivering culturally competent services, and drawing on shared experiences to help clients overcome their often interrelated barriers to health and community re-entry.

Matt Bechelli, COCHS

CHCS, Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.
Promoting Health Access to Keep the Mentally Ill Out of Jail

For many people with mental illness — who lack access to health services and an adequate support system — jail has become a de facto home. Research shows that increased access to health care services can help keep individuals away from the revolving door of repeat arrests.To take advantage of expanded health insurance coverage options, state Medicaid agencies and state and local corrections systems are collaborating in new ways to reach and enroll individuals with criminal justice involvement into health coverage.

Shannon M. McMahon, MPA
Christian Heiss, MPH, CPH

Consumer Rights Come to Jail:
How the Affordable Care Act
Changes the Rights of Individuals Pending Disposition

Historically, health care policy in the United States has not considered the special needs of individuals who cycle in and out of jails. The reason is obvious: consumer-oriented issues related to choice and protection have been the primary drivers of health care policy, and until very recently, few people in jail could afford health insurance. They were not consumers.

The ACA has expanded affordability of, and access to, health care and granted rights and responsibilities specifically to individuals in jail pending disposition. It is only a matter of time before correctional settings must incorporate the consumer-based insurance mechanisms and assurances established by the ACA. Recognition of serious, widespread deficiencies in the physical and mental health care services provided in jail underscores the urgency of this need.

Daniel J. Mistak, J.D.,
General Counsel, Community Oriented Correctional Health Services

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Justice-Involved Populations

This FAQ details how the Affordable Care ACT (ACA) impacts justice-involved populations. In addition, it presents statistics that explain the demographics and health concerns of this population. Read more...

How the ACA Can Revolutionize Inmate Healthcare

This article in The Nation that discusses how Medicaid expansion under health reform impacts the health care of the people cycling in and out of jails. Before the ACA, 90 percent of individuals involved in the criminal justice were without health insurance. Now with insurance available for this population, new possibilities are open not only for the jail involved population but also for the providers who treat them.

This article also includes multiple quotes by Ben Butler, COCHS Chief Information Officer. To read the latest article by Ben, 11,2Meaningful Use in Corrections: Unknown Opportunities, click 11,2here.

Maura Ewing, The Nation

State Profiles of Health Care Information for the Criminal Justice System

A map of the United States that allows the user to explore how each state has implemented health information technologyd for the criminal justice population. This project was developed by the Legal Action Center through a grant by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Vera Research Speaker Series: The implications of the Affordable Care Act for the Criminal Justice System.

Steven Rosenberg, the president of COCHS, explains how the Affordable Care Act provides health coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans, many of whom will be justice-involved. By harnessing the opportunities presented by the ACA, jurisdictions can possibly improve health outcomes,reduce costs, and potentially reduce recidivism.

Steven Rosenberg, COCHS

Affordable Care Act: A Primer for Advocates

This toolkit assists advocates in understanding how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents an opportunity to reduce unnecessary incarceration of people with mental illness and substance use disorders.

ACLU, San Diego

The Intersection of Public Health and Public Safety in U.S. Jails: Implications and Opportunities of Federal Health Care Reform

This paper discusses the implications and opportunities of health care reform for jails from a public health perspective.

Bonita Veysey of the School of Criminal Justice,
Rutgers -The State University of New Jersey

The Prison Health Care Dilemma

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act grants the incarcerated and those being released from prison a first-ever chance to get comprehensive, continuous health care.

Katti Gray, The Crime Report