Press Releases

Hastings Reintroduces Legislation to Restore Federal-Local Partnership for County Health Care Costs

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Washington, D.C., December 9, 2015 | comments

Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) reintroduced the Restoring the Partnership for County Health Care Costs Act of 2015, which would prohibit the federal government from stripping individuals of their Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and SSI benefits, before an inmate has been convicted of a crime. (Please find attached a copy of the legislation): 

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 8th Amendment requires government entities to provide medical care to all inmates.  As a result, local governments are burdened with the expense of providing health care to thousands of men, women, and juveniles currently awaiting trial.

“Although these inmates are incarcerated, they are innocent until proven guilty.  As such, they should still be entitled to their medical benefits, and not at the expense of local governments, which are already trying to manage widespread budget deficits and cuts to safety net programs and other essential services. 

"Some of the inmates are incarcerated for a year and a half, while they await trial, meaning local governments have to shoulder the burden of providing their health care. Terminating their benefits also violates the presumption of innocence, which is the cornerstone principle of our justice system.  This also disproportionately affects low-income and minority populations, who are often unable to post bond, which would enable them to continue receiving benefits.”

Joining Hastings as original co-sponsors of the resolution were (7): Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Hank Johnston (D-GA), and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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