The Vance County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to begin charging detained people at the Vance County Jail a $10 co-pay for medical care. The county manager Renee Perry claims that this resolution is intended to minimize “misuse of the correctional health care system.” She claims people get arrested to come to jail to have dental work or health care.
Emancipate NC’s Kerwin Pittman makes it clear that these co-pays are wrong and bad policy:
“On its face, $5 to $20 may not seem like a lot to us. But when you are incarcerated, and you’re only making 40 cents a day, this is a lot of money for co-paying and medical attention,” he said.
This co-pay will deter or prohibit people from getting treatment that they may need: “They may just try to sit and ride the wave, which ultimately may spread the disease even faster. So, it is a bad combination and a bad decision,” he said. “What I don’t want to see is a spread in this mentality of ‘Well, since they put themselves in here, then we’re going to not give them the assistance that they need unless they can pay for it.’”
We know that healthcare is a human right. Locking someone up, taking away their liberty, and then refusing to provide them the health services they urgently need is unjust.