Locking Up Grampie for Fun & Profit

These Are the REAL Welfare Cheats: For-Profit Prison Company Diversifying into Robbing Medicaid Funds

Well, that didn’t take long. Within just a few months of Kentucky cutting its ties  with the country’s biggest for-profit prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has hit back with its latest sinister scheme to turn tax dollars (and human misery) into shareholder returns.

Here’s the plan: rather than letting one of the company’s prisons in Kentucky sit empty, a CCA ally in Kentucky’s legislature has announced plans to re-fill it by incarcerating the old and infirm.

One might think that prison funding gets allocated based on requests from the people who actually run the prison system. Not so for CCA – the Corrections Department has not reported that it needs extra prison beds for the elderly and ill.  A spokesperson told reporters, “That wasn’t an initiative that came from us.”

So why, then, did CCA pop up in the House version of Kentucky’s proposed budget, which instructs the Corrections Department to sign a contract with CCA to convert one of its prisons into an “ an assisted living or nursing facility” for elderly prisoners?   Has CCA suddenly decided it really cares about the elderly? Not quite.  It cares about profits, as it always has, and this provision would create a new way for CCA to bolster its bottom line.  If the federal government reimburses the private prison company for its medical expenses through Medicaid, it will convert old people into an attractive revenue stream for CCA.  By recharacterizing this geriatric prison as an “assisted living and/or nursing facility,” CCA can receive the same Medicaid reimbursement as a nursing home or hospital in the community—and be paid a per-diem rate by the Kentucky Corrections Department on top of that.

For the complete article see COMMON DREAMS http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/03/15-3



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