Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, former inmates have a lot to be thankful for. Christmas has arrived early and brought the gift of medical insurance at a very low cost or no cost at all.

Prisoners are eager to leave, but why are some so quick to go back? In order to not pay out of their own pocket, inmates are believed to return to receive free benefits.

Now that inmates are given the opportunity to receive Medi-Cal once released, the rates of criminals that purposely commit a crime to return to jail are expected to go down.

With that in mind, allowing former inmates to receive Medi-Cal is a step to better their future because it’s one less expense they would have in order to survive. Thus, finding a job and home becomes a priority that eventually gives back to the state’s economy. Not only does this help the economy but it helps build the ex-criminal’s character and personality into a helpful American civilian.

Studies in Oregon have already shown a good amount of former inmates taking advantage of Medi-Cal. Their lack of money has shown why they have a bigger interest in Medicaid compared to others because with a low income, Medicaid is either free or at a very low cost. Since Oregon expanded their Medicaid many years ago, they have served as a “preview” that will help other states with their own expansion of Medicaid.

In addition, already in El Paso County, there has been economic benefit from having Medicaid expanded. Since January, the county jail has already saved more than $500 by pushing medical costs onto Medicaid. The expansion of the Affordable Care Act has helped both the people and states prosper.

Receiving medical care is extremely important for everyone, especially if you have some sort of disability or disease. For example, Hilda Sims, who was able to survive breast cancer in prison and was still able to continue her treatment once released with her medical care. The medical care in prison is minimal but it gets the job done. So, it only makes sense to be able to keep receiving medical care once you’re out of prison to continue follow-up care.

Of course there’s always drawbacks. What if people have perfect health and don’t believe being enrolled in Medi-Cal is import? What if people are simply too lazy to even try to enroll or what if they just don’t know how to enroll? There would seem to be no point in expanding Medi-Cal if the majority of the people that can be approved don’t take advantage of it. In this case, the best thing to do would be to help the inmates sign up for Medi-Cal before they are released so once they are out, they feel no need to return.

Medical care is something everyone should have regardless of class status or income. It’s only fair for former inmates to be given that same opportunity everyone else has regardless of their criminal backgrounds. This is the first step to help inmates leave their confinement and get integrated back into the real world. Now inmates are being helped to receive medical care and maybe later they will be helped to find jobs once released from prison. Not only is this helping the ex-prisoner personally but it’s also helping the state’s economy and society as a whole.