Why it Matters

young family

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a game changer

  • Addresses unique issues for justice involved people

    Justice involved individuals have substantially higher rates of medical, psychiatric, and addiction problems as compared to the general public.

  • Currently, the majority of the justice involved population – 70 to 90 percent – does not have private or public health insurance

    The ACA can change those numbers and offers an unprecedented opportunity to provide health care coverage to justice involved individuals, with the majority being eligible for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program).

  • Colorado has embraced Medicaid expansion under the ACA and will be providing a substance abuse and mental health treatment benefit

    For the first time, justice involved people may be able to access integrated health care and substance abuse treatment that is available to them beyond their involvement in the criminal justice system.

  • Potential to improve the health of justice involved individuals

    The need for close coordination of care between primary, behavioral health, and chronic/specialty care may likely be more pronounced for people involved in the criminal justice system and the ACA offers care coordination opportunities, especially for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) consumers.

  • The ACA could help reduce the revolving door of repeat incarcerations

    The ACA can promote alternatives to the overuse of the criminal justice system by offering continuing health, mental health and substance abuse care upon release into the community.

  • The ACA offers opportunities for cost savings and cost flexibility in the criminal justice system

    Courts, jails and prisons have the potential to shift funding previously slated for health costs to other uses.