Various provisions of the Affordable Care Act—including the expansion of Medicaid, investments to be made in health information technology, establishment of health insurance exchanges, and minimum essential coverage—have direct and indirect implications for criminal justice. Success in implementing the Affordable Care Act has the potential to decrease crime, recidivism, and criminal justice costs, while simultaneously improving the health and safety of communities. Conversely, the criminal justice population has been recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General as a cost containment opportunity for health care systems.
Currently, states are engaged in health care reform implementation and planning activities across the country. As of April 2012, $856 million in federal funding has been invested in state planning efforts, which have been underway in most jurisdictions without the input of criminal justice stakeholders. In order to position criminal justice entities as informed partners, several potential systems planning, training, and technical assistance opportunities have been identified.