Chelan County Asking For Help From Rep. Schrier On Inmate Medicaid Rules
Chelan County commissioners continue raising concerns about how federal health care laws are burdening the county's residents.
Commissioner Kevin Overbay says one of the biggest problems rests with the laws that govern Medicaid.
"Right now, if someone's booked into the jail just for being accused of a crime they lose their Medicaid coverage after the first thirty days in Washington State. So if they're there pending trial for longer than that, then their Medicaid coverage gets suspended and the tax payers of the county essentially pick up the medical bills for that individual who's in jail."
Overbay adds the loss of Medicaid coverage for inmates who spend more than thirty days at the jail ends up being especially costly for property owners in the county.
"Our citizens already pay into the Medicaid system through payroll taxes. So when an inmate's Medicaid gets suspended, then they pay through their property taxes for those medical services that are part of the jail's budget. So taxpayers are getting hit twice for the same services and all we're wanting to ask for is that Medicaid continue for the person who's incarcerated up to the point of sentencing."
Overbay says he addressed the subject with 8th District Congresswoman Kim Schrier during her recent visit to Wenatchee for a roundtable discussion with local leaders about the fentanyl crisis.
Schrier is reportedly interested in potentially spearheading legislation to change the current laws regarding Medicaid for inmates at the federal level.