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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Florida faces lawsuits over its new election law, a medical board fines an Indiana doctor for speaking about a 10-year-old's abortion, and Minnesota advocates say threats to cut SNAP funds are off the mark.

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The White House and Speaker McCarthy gain support to pass their debt ceiling agreement, former President Donald Trump retakes the lead in a new GOP primary poll, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is impeached.

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The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

Feds OK CA Plan to Pre-Enroll Incarcerated People in Medi-Cal

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023   

California will soon become the first state in the nation to offer health insurance to income-eligible individuals who are incarcerated - starting 90 days prior to their release. The feds just agreed to match funds spent on Medi-Cal or CHIP for people leaving jail, prison or juvenile correctional facilities.

Hagar Dickman, senior attorney at the nonprofit Justice in Aging, said it is in everyone's interest to set justice-involved people up for success.

"The idea is to ensure that people are connected with services prior to their release, and individuals with mental-health needs and substance-abuse disorder also can have their medication given to them prior to the release," Dickman said.

Previously the feds would only reimburse the state's Medi-Cal expenses for people upon their release. In addition, the state passed a law last fall put people's Medi-Cal into suspension instead of terminating it while incarcerated. Now their status will be reactivated without them having to reapply.

This is not just a health initiative, it's an equity initiative - since a disproportionate number of people of color face incarceration, Dickman said. And it puts people on stronger footing as they re-enter society.

"This is really an important way to combat the significant effects of mental illness, mental health issues, and substance abuse in the jails particularly in light of both high rates of homelessness and also suicide and overdose as people are released," she said.

The move is part of the larger project called Cal AIM
which will modernize Medi-Cal - and allow it to cover things like housing supports, since secure housing is considered a social determinant of health.

Disclosure: Justice in Aging contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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