WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today was honored as the Major County Sheriffs of America’s (MCSA) Legislative Initiative Champion Award for his leadership on improving health care access for those awaiting trial. MCSA highlighted Cassidy’s Due Process Continuity of Care Act, which would ensure that pre-trial detainees do not lose access to Medicaid prior to ever being found guilty of a crime, as the reason for the award.
“I am proud to stand with sheriffs across the country to ensure those who have not been found guilty of a crime see their rights protected,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“As law enforcement continues to deal with a severe mental health and substance use problem, we need more tools to offer those incarcerated the best chance at a successful transition back into the community,” said MCSA Vice President of Government Affairs Michael J. Bouchard of Oakland County, MI. “Senator Cassidy’s efforts are appreciated very much in the law enforcement community in order to ensure proper care of incarcerated individuals and help support the burden of medical care placed on jails and correctional facilities. We are very grateful for his efforts.”
Incarcerated people experience chronic diseases, mental illness, and substance abuse at higher rates than the general population. More than 95% of local jail inmates eventually return to their communities, bringing their health conditions with them.
This denial of federal benefit without due process shifts the full financial burden of health care of inmates onto local jails and taxpayers. The weight of this burden is severely straining local jail budgets and resulting in unmet care needs of pretrial status detainees, which comprise approximately two-thirds of people held in local jails.
The Due Process Continuity of Care Act was endorsed by MCSA. Read more about the bill here.