Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The L.A. Times has this editorial:
More than 100,000 people are booked into Los Angeles County's jails each year. When they arrive, many of them are receiving healthcare benefits through Medi-Cal, the state's healthcare program for the poor. But by the time they leave, those inmates often have no healthcare coverage.
That's bad, and not just for the inmates but for society as a whole. When people leave jail without medical coverage, their ailments often go untreated and they wind up in the emergency room with more expensive, acute problems. The ultimate cost usually ends up being covered by taxpayers in any case because hospitals can sign them up for Medi-Cal retroactively. What's more, former jail inmates who suffer from mental health issues and substance-abuse problems but who don't receive treatment are more likely to end up back in jail, according to studies of jail populations in Florida and Washington.