Fair and just access to health care is a human right. But right now, most California counties charge people in jail a $3 copay when they seek medical or dental care; they are also allowed to charge for medical equipment like glasses and dentures. This creates a dangerous barrier to health care for incarcerated people who must choose between buying basic necessities, maintaining communication with their families, or seeking care.
Thanks to advocacy by California Coalition of Women Prisoners, Initiate Justice, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and ACLU, California’s prison agency announced that it will no longer charge copays or for medical equipment in state prisons. But the more than 70,000 people in California jails won’t benefit from this decision. AB 45 will eliminate copays and medical equipment charges in county jails and ensure they can’t be reinstated in prison.
February 26, 2019: Approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee