LAC Praises NY for Seeking First Federal Waiver Extending Medicaid to People Leaving Prison

April 28, 2016—New York, NY—The Legal Action Center applauds New York State for seeking approval from the federal government to become the first state in the nation to provide medical services with Medicaid coverage to individuals in the last 30 days of their incarceration.  The vast majority of incarcerated people have substance use and/or mental health issues which must be addressed if they are to successfully reenter their communities upon release.  Individuals leaving jails and prisons are at far greater risk of death from drug overdoses and other serious illnesses than other New Yorkers.  Establishing a demonstration program to obtain Medicaid coverage for the transition from incarceration to community-based care upon release is a far-sighted idea that will achieve multiple benefits simultaneously: improved health and fewer deaths, reduced recidivism and incarceration, and reduced health and criminal justice costs for the state and localities.  Legal Action Center commends the Governor and the Legislature for continuing its leadership in criminal justice and health care reform through this exciting and innovative initiative.

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