ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State House Republicans are proposing that Minnesota prisoners be forced to come up with a $5 co-pay for every visit they make to a health care provider.

It’s one part of the House GOP’s proposed two-year budget for public safety and corrections. The Republican plan proposes spending about $1 billion on corrections and other public safety programs, about $55 million less than what Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed.

Republicans propose a $12 million cut to programs for crime victims and battered women. Another cost-saving measure in the bill would require that offenders with 60 days or less in their sentences serve that time in a county jail or workhouse.

Republicans also propose slashing more than half the budget of the state Department of Human Rights.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (14)
  1. MARK says:

    I support making prisoners pay for health care, and I support requiring short term offenders to serve time in county jail as cost saving measures. I’d be in favor of even more ways to cut costs at the expense of prisoners. These people have given up their rights.

    I can’t support the rest of the bill, though. Republicans are in favor of cutting funds for battered women and victims of crime in general, while supporting tax cuts for the wealthiest Minnesotans. This is wrong, and I don’t see how anyone could argue otherwise.

    1. sick of the polititians in the state says:

      Just a bunch of old men & women walking on the backs of victims & the poorest of the poor.

      I agree Mark, prisioners should pay for their the health care as well as the cost of keeping them behind bars. 50-100 dollars a day regardless of which jail, workhouse or prision they are in.

      1. Richard in Minneapolis says:

        And if they don’t (or can’t) pay you propose to do what? Put them in jail?

  2. Helper says:

    The dignity of man is proportional to how they treat the poor and elderly. These republicans are no more than greedy slimy sick people. I love how most republicans are religious….. How ironic…

    1. Gordon says:

      If a Republican is religious it is in name only

  3. whatever says:

    If I was in prison I would simply not work therfore I wouldn’t be able to pay the copay. What are they going to do? Leave you laying in your cell even though you need healthcare? Yeah right. Then you sue and gt out of prison for torture basically.

  4. snowman says:

    Where does one get a 5.00 copay when in prison. Iknow where of I speak,
    I have been there. Not going to happen

  5. marcy says:

    Making prisoners pay for medical care would in most cases be yet another burden on the backs of prisoners’ families–many of whom are low-income people who may have lost a breadwinner with a family member in jail. Not that the GOP cares, of course.

  6. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    I have been an accountant and a controller in health care for years. The whole problem with ideas like a $5.00 co-pay is that it often costs more than is collected. Example: To start collecting cash where you didn’t collect cash before means the following:

    Training entry level medical assistants how to collect cash, return change, accept checks, spot counterfeit currency, etc.

    Institute a cash register system to provide a record of cash collected which can be later compared to what is in the till, as well as issue receipts.

    A safe place to store the cash pending collection, usually a safe.

    A method of transporting the cash to the bank. Employees shouldn’t be asked to do this as it sets them up as potential robbery targets. Solution: Armored car pick up.

    Additional accounting procedures to reconcile cash and make sure not of it wanders off.

    After a while you realize you are spending $10 to collect $5 and you’d be money ahead chucking the whole system. This is one of the reasons Delta Airlines doesn’t accept cash (any more) in flight. Too much hassle for the amounts collected.

    1. Matthew Clark says:

      Excellent point Richard. This was my Grandmother’s experience when she needed health care in Australia years ago. She fell off a boat while touring the Great Barrier Reef and hit her head on some coral. She was medi-vaced to the mainland and taken to hospital where she was treated. When she asked what the bill would be the confused staff said there was no charge. My Grandmother persisted, “But I’m not an Australian, I’m an American.” The answer: “No, you don’t understand. Nobody pays.” And that is the point. It is so inefficient to charge visit by visit, procedure by procedure that the system as a whole is far better off not losing dollars to collect dimes. Far better to establish a cost of health and tax to support that. We all need to be healthy, so we should all pay in.

  7. Sick of Co-pays says:

    It’s politics in its most shameless form. If the GOP were serious, they would work to reduce medical care costs across the board. The GOP wouldn’t want to do that ‘cuz that would mean holding health insurance companies accountable for their overpricing to meet the $$$$$ that their CEOs demand.

  8. Derrick says:

    Shift the burden. Prisoners to the counties, the counties pay for them. Counties collect more property tax. State GOP looks good. More than likely, Hennipen and Ramsey counties get hit. Guess who did not vote GOP.
    Cut the budget of the human rights department. Guess where workplace complaints go about sexual, age, and ethnic discrimination go? Right there. Perhaps the Republicans think this is the age of enlightenment. Ask the department how far behind they get.
    The Republicans probably think that by installing co pays it would reduce health care usage in the prison, thus the prisons wouldn’t need as much staff. At $5 a pop that could kill the brittle diabetic.

  9. Pete says:

    As for the co-pay, when a service is “free” it is very tempting to use that service for every little thing. If you give that service some value it is more likely that there will be less use of that service. If that happens the money is made by having fewer trips to the clinic not from the co-pay’s collected. Sounds reasonable to me.

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