Health care for inmates in Texas' 112 prisons costs taxpayers more than $929 million for two years. The House plan would cut that to just over $707 million.In this post, Grits called the suggested the healthcare cuts "untenable" soon after they were published. They just make no sense except for Ward's observation, "Most of the proposed cuts would come from reduced treatment." Many voters may say they're happy with that, but particularly for offenders who the state is caring for long-term, the extra cost in the out-years from chronic, preventable ailments is substantial and ultimately, unavoidable.
Most of the proposed cuts would come from reduced treatment, a situation that prison officials worry might eventually cost more, as convicts whose health needs could have been addressed early on require more expensive hospital care.
In addition, drug costs are expected to continue to increase, and legal costs could go up significantly as inmates file lawsuits over reduced medical care.
The $64 Question: Will the Legislature force UTMB-Galveston to remain in its unwanted shotgun marriage with TDCJ at the new, reduced rates described in Ward's story, or will they be allowed to leave in pursuit of new suitors, perhaps opening the door to Geo Care or some other private prison health contractor? ¿Quien sabe? That's one of the may great unknowns facing the prison system during the 82nd Texas Legislature.