The Health and Reentry Project
State and federal policymakers have long considered changes to Medicaid policy to better support the health of people as they leave prison or jail. Such changes aim to advance multiple national goals, from improving health equity to reducing recidivism, strengthening public safety, and addressing public health crises related to mental health, addiction, and COVID-19.
Bipartisan legislation under consideration in Congress would establish Medicaid coverage for eligible individuals 30 days before release from prison or jail. Even as federal policymakers consider this change, a handful of states have asked the Biden Administration to make similar policy changes administratively through Medicaid’s 1115 demonstration waiver process. Whether through statute or administrative action, it appears likely that changes extending Medicaid coverage to incarcerated individuals will occur in 2022.
To help states, the federal government, and relevant stakeholders prepare for and navigate this transition, CCJ is joining with two partners on the Health and Reentry Project. The goal is to promote continuity of care between correctional and community settings and maximize the benefits of Medicaid policy changes for public health and public safety.
The Health and Reentry Project is led by Executive Director Vikki Wachino, who oversaw the Medicaid and CHIP programs as Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from 2015 to 2017 and served as CEO of Community Oriented Correctional Health Services. Waxman Strategies, a mission-driven policy, advocacy, and communications firm with an extensive record on health policy, is the third partner on the project.
Support for the initiative is provided by the California Health Care Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, the Rx Foundation, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, as well as CCJ’s general operating contributors.