Expanding Medicaid was a key part of the Affordable Care Act. In our state, it's known as Healthy Michigan, and it has meant health care coverage for more than 600,000 people.
But if you wind up in the criminal justice system, even if its just pre-trial detention, Medicaid benefits turn off immediately.
Researchers at the University of Michigan say excluding inmates from Medicaid is driving up costs and hurting the health of inmates.
Dr. Tyler Winkelman is one of those researchers. He wrote an article on TheConversation.com to make his case for why the Medicaid exclusion should be repealed. He joined Stateside to talk about how the Medicaid exclusion originated and why he thinks the policy should be thrown out.
Without Medicaid to cover the costs, local counties pick up the health care tab for all inmates who are in jail while the state pays for the costs in state-run prisons. Based on numbers from 2011, the total health care costs to taxpayers nationwide for those in prison is as much as $7 billion. And that number has likely increased in the past six years.