Gov. Cuomo’s administration is launching an aggressive plan to sign up thousands of ex-cons for taxpayer-financed Medicaid, which they’ll receive once they leave prison, The Post has learned.
Under the initiative, all inmates would automatically apply for the public health insurance for the needy while incarcerated, state Department of Health officials said.
Those who meet the income requirements will be placed on the Medicaid rolls upon discharge.
Critics say the plan offers no incentive for convicted felons to find work after lockup.
“It’s an extremely liberal approach to benefit prisoners. It shouldn’t be ‘Medicaid on demand.’ It gives the prisoners no incentive to get a job so they can get their own health insurance. This is unfair to the hardworking taxpayers of New York,” fumed state Conservative Party chairman Mike Long.
“Evidently, crime does pay.”
Health officials defended the program as bolstering public health.
“The incidences of communicable and noncommunicable diseases tend to be higher in the prison population. It also prevents unnecessary spread of illness in the community,” said Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, chairwoman of DOH’s Public Health and Planning Council panel, which is reviewing the issue.
Authorities declined to say how many prisoners would be eligible, but even a conservative estimate would be in the thousands.
There are 56,000 convicts in prisons or other facilities. In 2010, 25,308 inmates were discharged.
Meanwhile, 2.2 million New Yorkers statewide are uninsured, or about 15 percent of all adults between the ages of 18 and 64.[email protected]