Sending Office: Honorable Alcee L. Hastings
Cosponsors: Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Charlie Crist, Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Rep. Susan Wild, Rep. Donna E. Shalala, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Rep. Eleanor Holmes
Norton, Rep. Elaine G. Luria, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Joe Neguse, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier
Supporting Organizations: National Association of Counties
I write to ask for your support for the Restoring the Partnership for County Health Care Costs Act of 2019. This bill requires that individuals who receive Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and/or Supplementary Security
Income (SSI) benefits, and are subsequently incarcerated pending disposition of their charges, maintain those benefits until they are convicted of a crime. Furthermore, the bill eliminates the current mandatory 30 day delay in reinstating Medicaid mental health
care benefits for those released from custody. During this period of time, people in need of mental health assistance are without such care and run the risk of violating the law once again thereby contributing to our country’s significant problem of recidivism.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 8th Amendment requires government entities to provide medical care to all inmates, but in almost all states, people who are incarcerated in a county jail or juvenile detention facility lose their Medicare, Medicaid,
CHIP or SSI benefits, even if they have not been convicted of a crime. As a result, local governments are burdened with the expense of providing health care to thousands of men, women and children awaiting trial. Indeed, requiring county governments to cover
health care costs for inmates who have not been convicted places an unnecessary burden on local governments, which have already been negatively impacted by widespread budget deficits and cuts to safety net programs and other essential services.
Terminating benefits to inmates who are awaiting trial also taints the presumption of innocence and disproportionately affects low-income and minority populations who don’t have the means to post bail, which paradoxically would enable them to continue receiving
benefits. Finally, this bill preserves the partnership between the federal and local governments, ensuring that local governments are not burdened with an unfair share of meeting the mandate to guarantee medical coverage.
If you have any questions or would like to co-sponsor this legislation, please contact Jessica Gumucio at
Jessica.Gumucio@mail.house.gov or 5-1313.
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0