Can you commit crime in order to receive expensive critical health care in the US.

Pretend you are a US citizen, need a heart transplant and don’t have money or health insurance.

If you simply commit a crime and get yourself convicted and imprisoned, can you then force the state to pay for your heart transplant.

I was wondering if this could also have been a solution to the child’s predicament in the movie John Q.

According to this 60 Minutes story, it’s possible in California, at least.

However, the full story (last aired this past Sunday) added that many prisons simply release these prisoners on some sort of medical parole, especially for terminal conditions.

Medical parole? cool.

So if I need critical medical treatment, I can go shoot bullets into a bank or federal building and they won’t put me in jail?

It is a great system, esp if you are old, and dont want to go to a nursing home.

YOu dont have to do something so drastic or violent as to shoot bullets in a bank, just violate the drug laws, and then you will have a very long sentence, free room and board, lots of friends and people to talk to, and all medical care paid for. Move your assets over to your children before you violate the drug law, and then your children wont lose anything.

Increasingly, with our long sentences or life penalties for using drugs, our prison population will be steadily increasing, and lots of our prisons will be like nursing homes. Most people in prison are not violent offenders, the most common crimes they commit are drug laws, so the people you meet in prison are really not like the bad fellows you see on tv.

I’m going to have to ask for some cites, please, because I am under the impression that as a whole prisoners don’t receive top-notch medical care and that ordinary prisoners (i.e., not those who are independently wealthy white-collar criminals) who have serious medical conditions are not facing a rosy future or a long life.

WAG: after they release you on medical parole, my guess is that to get any treatment you go the welfare/Medicaid route.

WAG2: If you shoot up something, they arrest you first and determine medical conditions second.

On preview, I see acsenray is making a similar point.

In a month or so, the former UC-Davis employee whom I pitted here already shall discover if her crime will garner her some prison time with its attendant medical help. There’s a very interesting debate a number of my classmates & I are having over how the judge should sentence her.

Hey acsenray, do you have a cite for the proposition that independently wealthy white collar criminals receive better medical care while in prison than “ordinary” criminals?

I did say it was my “impression.” I would assume that independently wealthy white collar criminals can (and do) pay for their own health care. Either way, I’m not the one making any assertions here.

This must vary by state. There was a case a few years ago here in Kentucky where a prisoner, Michael Paulley, was being denied life-saving treatment for hepatitis C. The crazy part was, he was a veteran, and the VA would have paid for it, but because most prisoners don’t have access to this level of medical care, the prison system decided it was “unfair” for him to get the treatment. As the Corrections Dept. said “you must understand that in your case the issue is not cost but fairness. Prisoners with more resources, money or influence cannot be granted better food, housing or medical care than those without those benefits.” And when you consider it’s estimated that 20% of prisoners here have hep C, that’s a lot of terminal liver failure waiting to happen. I’m sure a liver, or heart, transplant would be out of the question, whether or not you could afford to pay for it yourself.

I wonder what the standard policy of medical care is for federal prisoners? Anyone know?

It’s not a great system for the elderly, Susanann. I guarantee it. Some get better healthcare than they would as derelicts living on the streets, etc. but while medical care is guaranteed, creature comforts are minimal, and assistance for elderly inmates is at a minimum. It’s not pretty, and I know firsthand.

As for getting a heart transplant; if we have a patient who might need one, they’ll be evaluated according to our protocols, by our specialists (some of the best in the nation) and be ruled eligible or ineligible by our rules. Lots of inmates get real upset when they find we don’t automatically treat them for Hepatitis C just because they have the infection. (Treatment cures fewer than 50% of people treated, and the treatment kills a few people every year too. Meanwhile 80% of people with Hep C do pretty much ok with the disease without treatment).

Here’s the National Commission on Correctional Health Care website.

treatment for Hep C is more frequently not lifesaving! I could rant about this endlessly. Treatment is appropriate for a select population of people with hep C who meet certain criteria. If one is so far gone that one has decompensated cirrhosis, there’s no point in treating the Hep C virus. If one is not having progressive liver scarring, one will be far less likely to have liver failure and death, and there is no need for tretment. The trick is to find the people in between who could benefit from Hep C treatment, and get it to them!

Failure rate for treatment of Hep C genotype 1 is about 70%. In the failure group, the virus persists despite a year-long treatment which makes one sicker than a dog, and costs a hell of a lot to boot! Failure rates for types 2 and 3 (less common in the US0 are lower, at about 30%.

I treat folks for Hep C. It’s rough. If I had the hep C virus, and did not have evidence of progressive scarring of my liver (as well over 70% of patients don’t), I would hold out as long as I could to see if they invented better treatments! it’s a slow disease, it takes multiple decades to do its significant damage. We’ve got time in the vast majority of cases to pause and think!

End rant

I think that normally, don’t hospitals have to provide emergency care anyway? Things like transplants are a bit different in that supply is terribly limited.

That’s strange. The prison my husband works in must be unique. It’s crammed full of rapists, theives murderers, gang members, child molesters, and armed robbers. I once asked him how many people were incarcerated therein for simple possession. His reply? “Three.” And *those * guys had vast amounts of drugs, not just a joint in the pocket.

I’m an avid supporter of decriminalization of drugs, but I don’t buy the notion that there are hundreds of thousands of folks in the pen for simple possession of “personal use” amounts of drugs. The vast majority of incarcerated drug offenders are dealers and those caught with large amounts.

Back to the medical issue at hand: in the prison in which my husband works, medical care is provided, but it’s not the “best of the best.” If you’re HIV positive, for example, you get the “three-drug cocktail” but not the latest treatments. They medicate kidney and heart patients, but transplants aren’t an option.

In short, they get better care than the indigent, but not as good of care as someone with medical insurance might.

In the state of SC, all time spent in the hospital during a prison term does not count toward that sentence. I have no cite for this other than the doctors I work with telling me it was so.

Hospitals DO have to provide emergency care. But be warned it must be EMERGENCY care. I once was unensured and I had a kidney stone. It hurt like anything and I went to five hospitals before I found one (In Indiana yet, I’m from Chicago) that would help.

Even Cook County Hospital told me it wasn’t life threatening and to come back in 4 days. They were like we got people with bullets in their head and they come first.

It was very embarrassing to have to go from hospital to hospital. I finally got help BTW at Portage Hospital in Valparasio (sp?) Indiana.

"America imprisons over a million nonviolent offenders

Washington, DC - Coming just a week after the Justice Department announced that 1.8 million Americans were behind bars, a new report by the Justice Policy Institute has found that, for the first time, over one million nonviolent offenders were incarcerated in America in 1998.

Entitled America’s One Million Nonviolent Prisoners, the JPI analysis of recent United States Justice Department data showed that over the past 20 years, the nonviolent prisoner population has increased at a rate much faster than the violent prisoner population, and that 77% of the people entering prisons and jails were sentenced for nonviolent offenses. Since 1978, the number of violent prisoners entering America’s prisons doubled, the number of nonviolent prisoners tripled, and the number of persons imprisoned for drug offenses increased eight-fold.

The study also found that the overwhelming majority of male jail inmates are not incarcerated for a violent offense (82.4%) and have no violent offense history (64%). That is even truer for America’s fastest growing inmate populationÂ_Â_women. Eighty-five percent of female jail inmates are incarcerated for a nonviolent offense, and 83.1% of female jail inmates have no violent prior offenses. "

That doesn’t really mean anything. Embezelment is a non-violent offense, as is drug dealing, drunk driving, arson (assuming no one is hurt), stealing cars, burglary, and prostitution.

My state does not allow inmates to pay for better health care. Even if they could afford outside care, they’re limited to what the prison provides.

I remember my husband telling me about an inmate, a very wealthy man, who was desperate to get parole. He had cancer, and the prison treatments weren’t working. He was convinced that if he were released, he could be cured by more advanced treatments available to the public, but not in the prison.

As has been said before, inmates’ health care is far better than that of the indigent, which I think is pretty sad. (Not sad that the inmates get it, but sad that a law-abiding, but poor, person can’t.) With long-term illnesses, if there’s no way you can afford any treatment, you *would * be better off in prison.

Inmates also get dental care, which is unnafordable to a lot of poor folks. Some of the inmates in my husband’s prison had never been to the dentist in their lives before they were incarcerated.