Every day, youth who enter detention centers, jails, and prisons with Medicaid coverage leave those same facilities without the essential Medicaid support for medical care they need to address a variety of physical and mental health needs. This is because a majority of states terminate enrollment for medical assistance under Medicaid, even in the absence of a federal mandate requiring such action.
A disproportionate number of youth in the juvenile justice system come from impoverished backgrounds and cope with a myriad of mental disorders and health ailments. According to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures, as many as 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system suffer from a mental disorder. As many as one in five suffer from a mental illness severe enough to impair their ability to function adequately. Many meet the criteria for multiple disorders.
That is why, in my role as the U.S. Representative for California's 29th District, I have introduced the At-Risk Youth Medicaid Protection Act (H.R. 5100). This act will ensure that children already enrolled in the Medicaid program receive coverage as soon as they are released from custody.
Want to know about this bill? Here are some resources to help you get started.
Medicaid Suspension Policies for Incarcerated People: 50-State Map
Here are a few sample press releases and news articles that showcase what this bill is about and why it's so important for our youth and our communities.
- Press Release: Cardenas Re-Introduces Medicaid Coverage Bill
- Press Release: Cardenas Bill Generates National Support
In the News
- White House: President Obama Announces New Actions to Reduce Recidivism
- Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: States Could Not Terminate Medicaid for Juveniles in Custody Under Bill
- Cape May County Herald: Bill Introduced To Prevent Gap in Health Care Coverage for Youth in Juvenile Justice System
The importance of a bill can be seen by the amount of support it receives. Here's a look at the more than 100 organizations that have come out in support of my At-Risk Youth Medicaid Protection Act and its companion bill in the Senate.
Here is a full list of organizations that have voiced their support for my bill.
Here are a few sample letters of support my bill has received from some of the most esteemed organizations across the nation.