WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Michael Turner (OH-10), David Trone (MD-06), John Rutherford (FL-05) and Paul Tonko (NY-20) reintroduced the bipartisan, bicameral Due Process Continuity of Care Act. The bill amends a portion of the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP), which denies Medicaid coverage to eligible individuals being detained pre-trial. Specifically, this bill is aimed at ensuring pretrial detainees receiving substance abuse treatment can continue such routines, reducing the rates of overdose and recidivism post-detainment. Last year, a version of this legislation was signed into law, allowing eligible juvenile detainees to continue to receive such benefits.
“Too many people in Ohio and across the country have been negatively impacted by the opioid epidemic,” said Congressman Mike Turner. “I am proud to partner with Representatives Trone, Rutherford, and Tonko in reintroducing the Due Process Continuity of Care Act. Our bipartisan legislation amends a portion of the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy that perpetuates a dangerous cycle of treatment interruption and recidivism for individuals awaiting trial. Fixing this unconstitutional flaw in our Medicaid system will save lives.”
“Our criminal justice system guarantees folks that they are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but preventing pretrial detainees from accessing Medicaid violates that right,” said Congressman David Trone. “We know that a high percentage of incarcerated individuals suffer from mental health conditions and substance use disorders – this policy is only making matters worse. This effort will restore detainees’ constitutionally protected rights and ensure access to much-needed healthcare.”
“For years, I’ve worked to advance bipartisan legislation that expands access to addiction treatment and delivers needed support to our most vulnerable communities,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “The Due Process Continuity of Care Act builds powerfully on this effort by ensuring that people not convicted of a crime retain lifesaving Medicaid coverage. I am proud to join Congressmen Trone, Turner and Rutherford to introduce this legislation that will reduce recidivism, protect due process, and save lives.”
“The Due Process Continuity of Care Act not only addresses important health issues, but it also helps local jails who bear the financial burden of health care for pretrial detainees when such benefits are revoked without due process," said Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck. “I thank Congressman Mike Turner for his continued support of legislation that addresses the opioid crisis and gives Sheriff’s offices the tools they need to help their communities.”
Joining Reps. Turner, Trone, Rutherford and Tonko are Reps. Dave Joyce (OH-14), Stephanie Bice (OK-05), Don Bacon (NE-02), Dan Meuser (PA-09), Elanor Holmes-Norton (DC-at-large), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-at-large), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Ann Kuster (NH-02), Ted Lieu (CA-36), and Josh Harder (CA-09).
The Due Process Continuity of Care Act’s companion bill is led by Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Ed Markey (D-MA).
For bill text, click here.
The MIEP’s policy of exclusion towards pretrial detainees conflicts with the constitutional right to due process by denying Medicaid coverage to individuals presumed innocent. It also shifts the full financial burden of pretrial detainees’ health care onto local jails and taxpayers – two-thirds of people held in local jails are pretrial detainees. More than 95 percent of local jail inmates eventually return to their communities, bringing their health conditions with them.
The bill also authorizes $50 million in planning grant dollars for the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary to award to states with the goal of providing additional support to states, counties and local jails for implementing this policy, improving the quality of care provided in jails, and enhancing the number of available providers to treat this population.
The Due Process Continuity of Care Act is endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association, National Association of Counties, American Parole and Probation Association, American Psychological Association, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Black and Jewish Unity Coalition, CorJus, Dream.Org, International Community Corrections Association, Major County Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Criminal Justice Association, R St Institute, Successful Reentry.