Commissioner Supports Bill to Shift Healthcare Costs of the Accused

With the renovations to 150 N. Queen Street, the Amtrak Station makeover, the need to construct a new county morgue and, quite possibly, a new county prison, the new County Commissioners are really starting to feel the squeeze.

Having ridden into office on a wave of anti-incumbent sentiment and promises of fiscal responsibility, they are now searching for ways to cut costs.

It is in this spirit that Commissioner Scott Martin, a Republican, has proposed a resolution urging Congress to support a federal bill that would “clarify the status of people in custody pending disposition of charges so that otherwise eligible inmates may continue to receive Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and SCHIP benefits until such time that they are duly tried and convicted.”

The bill would extend such federal benefits to previously-eligible inmates whose cases are awaiting disposition.

Martin estimated that the County would save as much as $1 million per year by no longer having to provide health benefits to these individuals.

The federal bill Martin wants the County to support is H.R. 5698 – the “Restoring the Partnership for County Health Care Costs Act.” It was introduced by Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas).

You can read more about the pending legislation on the National Association of Counties’ website at http://www.countynews.org/CountyNewsTemplate.cfm?template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=27176.

The Commissioners are expected to vote on Martin’s resolution on Wednesday, July 30.

At their weekly meeting, Wednesday, the Commissioners are also expected to receive an update on the progress of the renovations to 150 N. Queen St. from the construction manager.

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