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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 4, 2021 03:40 PM
From: Representative Amen Brown
To: All House members
Subject: Ending Medical Co-pays for Incarcerated Pennsylvanians
Paid an average hourly rate of 42 cents per hour, incarcerated Pennsylvanians constantly face difficult financial decisions behind bars that they necessarily should not be having to make.  No one should be forced to decide if they should spend $5.00 on a co-pay to receive basic health care services or on other necessities, such as food, phone/email costs, or undergarments. If we do the math, an incarcerated individual will have to work about 12 hours to earn enough to pay just one medical co-pay. Having to make such a decision places an unfair financial burden on those incarcerated.
Not only does the $5.00 co-pay pose a financial burden to those incarcerated, but it also presents a public health dilemma by discouraging sick individuals from getting needed care. And, while inmates still receive medical care if they cannot pay the co-pay, their account balance goes into the negative, often requiring additional payments from family members to pay off that balance before anything else. This is not how health equity is achieved.
To alleviate the pressure put on our incarcerated individuals to pay co-pays, I will be introducing legislation to permanently end the $5.00 co-pay requirement for medical services.  Although currently suspended due to COVID-19, the $5.00 co-pay that incarcerated Pennsylvanian’s face for medical services can take its toll on both the incarcerated individual and their family.
As legislators, we must protect and advocate for the safety and security of all Pennsylvanians, including incarcerated individuals.  Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1753