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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: November 30, 2021 09:19 AM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Eliminating Medical Co-pays for Incarcerated Individuals
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would permanently eliminate medical co-pays for incarcerated individuals in Pennsylvania.

Throughout the past year, we have been reminded that keeping people who live and work in prisons healthy is a matter of community safety. Disease can quickly spread to others in the facility – and into the community – when people are released before being treated or corrections staff return to their families and communities. 

Currently, a $5 medical co-pay is charged to individuals incarcerated in state prisons each time they seek medical care. While this may not seem like much to you or me, because the majority of prison jobs only pay 19 to 42 cents an hour, this is a significant barrier for inmates.

The current $5 co-pay creates a system where incarcerated individuals must choose between basic healthcare and everyday necessities. Delaying or postponing healthcare because of costly prohibitive co-pays, only leads to increased healthcare costs for the state.

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) recognizes the serious need for adequate healthcare for incarcerated individuals and stands opposed to fee-for-service or co-pay programs that restrict patient access to care.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation. 

Introduced as SB1296