What is the annual percentage that the average adult goes to see their doctor?
The number is probably higher than you would have answered, it’s 83% of the adult population went to see their doctor last year (Source CDC). Now for the amazing part, which comes from Discovery Health, the percentage of inmates seeing a physician is over 70% in state pens & over 76% in federal.
Well what type of care do inmates get? Most would jump to a conclusion that it may be inferior but…under the Eight Amendment in the US Constitution “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
A quick interpretation; The standard care in a prison starts with an initial health assessment, which includes a questionnaire to collect information on prisoners’ medical, dental and mental health histories, as well as vital signs, a physical exam, screening for communicable diseases and immunizations [source: NCCHC].
Does this sound like your annual care or the care you will receive on your initial Medicare physical? Probably.
But the other factor to consider is, since health care is guaranteed to an inmate by the US Constitution there probably isn’t a co-pay or a premium and yes there probably isn’t a very long wait to see a physician too.
Now the immediate reply will be that the overall care is inferior, well according to an article from CNN titled “Jailhouse Docs choose inmates over Insurance” that may be changing “In 2009, private contractor Prison Health Services (PHS) saw a 77% increase over 2008 in the number of respondents applying for job opportunities.”
Also “At the University of Massachusetts Medical School, this year 22 of 150 new students chose the correctional health care clerkship as their first choice, more than double the typical response.”
The gap between the two is quickly vanishing. With one out of every 100 adults behind bars (roughly 2.3 million) and an aging population to boot the secret cost that we will face in the next coming years is health care and more importantly health care for inmates.
I now realize when I was younger as I watched my father eat horrible food, smoke cigars, refuse to workout let alone get off the couch and basically be a mess, I would comment about how he would get old & have to pay for health care. His reply “When I get too old I’ll just go to jail and everything will be fine”.
Words of wisdom from a man who was a Corrections Officer for over 25 years.