Feb 10, 2021

NCCHC supports bipartisan bill to allow incarcerated to get addiction treatment covered by Medicaid starting 30 days before release

The bill, “The Medicaid Reentry Act,” will be introduced Wednesday in the Senate. The bipartisan measure, coauthored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), would create an exception to a federal law that bars virtually all federal health coverage for prisoners. Joining Baldwin in sponsoring the Medicaid Reentry Act are Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

In the House of Representatives, the bill is sponsored by Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Mike Turner (R-OH), David Trone (D-MD) and David McKinley (R-WV).

The measure is an attempt to stop the epidemic of opioid overdose: individuals reentering society after incarceration are 129 times more likely to die of a drug overdose in the first two weeks post-release than the general population.

The Medicaid Reentry Act:

  • Establishes limited new flexibility allowing states to restart benefits for Medicaid-eligible incarcerated individuals 30 days pre-release
  • Does not expand Medicaid eligibility in any way
  • Makes it easier for states to provide addiction treatment and services, allowing smoother transitions to community care and reducing risk of overdose deaths post-release

The bill is officially supported by many NCCHC supporting organizations: American Jail Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, NACo, National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and National Sheriffs Association, as well as the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA).


Senate bill boosts addiction treatment, Medicaid coverage for prisoners before release

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