With more than 25,000 inmates behind bars, and one of the highest per-capita incarceration rates in the nation, Oklahoma spends a lot on prisons and has for the past 40 years. Inmates aren't always in the best health. With its tough 85-percent rule requiring certain offenders to serve most of their sentence before being eligible for release, inmates are staying in prison longer and therefore growing old there. The geriatric-age prison population is growing rapidly and with aging, coupled with a poor health history, come health problems.See related Grits posts:
Already, some older, blind and disabled inmates qualify for Medicaid-funded hospitalization. The change would make the eligibility almost universal in the prison system. ...
Inmate care is an expensive proposition. If most of that cost could be shifted to the federal government, Oklahoma tax dollars might be freed up for other programs such as education and infrastructure. DOC is wise to take a wait-and-see approach and not to refuse the money quickly like Texas apparently has done.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Oklahoma eyeing Medicaid funds for prison hospital costs
A staff editorial in the Tulsa World cited Medicaid funding for prison hospital services as a compelling argument as to why the state should accept federal money for Medicaid expansion in 2014, urging lawmakers to wait past election season to make up their minds. The editorial closes: