Extensive national attention has been given to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was passed in early 2010. Most attention has been focused on the individual mandate for health coverage, the new insurance exchanges, and the sheer number of Americans — an estimated 32 million — who will gain access to publicly subsidized care. This paper, authored by the Center for Health Care Strategies for Community Oriented Correction Health Services (COCHS), sheds much-needed light on provisions of the bill that could change the lives of millions of low-income individuals who encounter the criminal justice system.

CHCS is furthering its work with COCHS, a non-profit organization that works to build partnerships between jails and community health care providers, to explore the implications of expanded eligibility for Medicaid and subsidized insurance to low-income, childless adults under the ACA. Because a subset of these newly eligible individuals will potentially cycle through county and local jails, local correctional facilities are well-positioned to serve as an entry point for bringing them into the health care system and connecting them with community health care providers.