National Association of Counties Highlights Healthcare Access and Pretrial Justice

07/25/2014 11:41 AM

At the Annual Conference of the National Association of Counties (NACo), county officials discussed opportunities for healthcare access under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).   The ACA allows low-income adults, including those without children, to enroll in Medicaid or purchase subsidized health insurance.  This presents a great opportunity for court-involved adults to access healthcare, including substance abuse and mental health services.  The pretrial system is an ideal point to connect defendants with insurance, opening the door to needed treatment in the community rather than the jail.   The conference presentation is available here.

Conference participants discussed strategies for enrolling pretrial defendants, shifting cost burdens from county jails to Federal Medicaid dollars, and ensuring continuity of treatment when incarcerated defendants are released.  Similar conversations are happening in many California counties as local officials try to maximize MediCal expansion for the criminal justice population.  

For more resources and tools for expanding healthcare access in California, explore the Californians for Safety and Justice Health Matters project.  For more information on the ACA and pretrial, visit the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies.   



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