When Matthew Boyd was released from a Georgia state prison in December 2020, officials sent him home without medicines he uses to manage chronic heart and lung conditions and high blood pressure, he said.
Less than a month later, he spent eight days in an intensive care unit, the first of more than 40 hospital stays since. These days, he can barely get out of bed in his home south of Atlanta.
“It makes my life so miserable,” said Boyd, 44, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He told his story to KHN over email and text because he sometimes has trouble talking without losing his breath.
While Medicaid is generally prohibited from paying for the services people receive inside a prison or jail, the Biden administration opened the door for the federal program to cover care not long before a person is released, to help them better manage their health conditions during the transition. In February, the administration announced that states could also use Medicaid to pay for substance abuse treatment in state jails and prisons. Congressional efforts to reactivate Medicaid before inmates’ release nationwide have so far failed.
And across much of the South, where many states have not expanded Medicaid, reentry…