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Today, incarcerated people must pay a $5 co-pay for many basic healthcare services. This forces many of these individuals to choose between healthcare and necessities like soap, toothpaste, and clean undergarments, all of which are connected to improved health. On top of this, Illinois is allowed to take money from inmates to help “cover the cost” of their incarceration, leaving many individuals little to no resources to be successful or healthy upon release.
This creates an environment that pressures the most vulnerable individuals to avoid care, even when confronted with real medical need. This can lead to disease spread, increased deaths and hospitalizations, and even costly litigation against the state for failure to meet basic standards of care.
Following House Amendment 3, HB5104 eliminates the $5 medical co-pay for prison health services at both the Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice for both medical and dental services.
HB5104 passed unanimously in the House on April 27, 2018, and cleared the Senate in May. It was vetoed by Governor Rauner. The House of Representatives voted to override the veto in November, 2018, but the Senate has not taken action, so the bill is effectively dead for this General Assembly. We will post updates as they become available.