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Sen. Nan Rich seeks to block inmate health care outsourcing

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, has lodged a formal objection to the Legislature giving final approval to budget transfers that would allow the prison system to privatize health care for 100,000 inmates. Rich wrote a letter to Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who chairs the 14-member Legislative Budget Commission. The prison system has asked the LBC to approve a transfer of $58 million between budget categories so the agency can move forward with the privatization and implement it by Jan. 1, 2013.

The LBC generally functions as a rubber-stamp for mid-year changes to agencies' budgets, and in the past, an objection from a single lawmaker has carried great weight.  

The outsourcing of health care in Florida prisons has a checkered history, and this latest venture is highly controversial because it was created under budget proviso language that expired June 30 when the previous fiscal year ended. "But for the proviso, the appropriation would not be made," Rich wrote. "Consequently, I believe the DOC does not have the authority to privatize health services in prisons."

Unions representing state workers and nurses in the prison system have threatened to file a new lawsuit seeking to block the project from going forward.

Rich's effort to block the privatization comes as the leading vendor, Corizon Health, has agreed to pay a $1.85 million fine to the city of Philadelphia because of irregularities in its handling of a contract in that city's jail system. More background here.

-- Steve Bousquet

Comments

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whasup

It's amazing how some legislators really want those of us law-abiding taxpayers--who can't afford health care or health insurance--to pay more than necessary to fund felon's health care.

Nan, you're values and priorities and sense of fairness is out-of-whack, that is, whacked-out of left field ... from past the foul line.

And isn't Senator Rich's objection just designed to keep more of our tax money than necessary flowing into the pockets of well-paid government workers with nice benefits?

And doesn't she expect some of that tax money paid through those government workers to flow right back into her campaign coffers in her run for Governor?

BettyW

whasup - once again, another one of your posts that really shows your ignorance. Private prisons and private prison healthcare have been proven to be huge mistakes here in Florida and in other states, always championed by corrupt politicians in the pockets of lobbyist and big business. These companies scam the taxpayers, and its in their profit interest to grow their businesses. Time and time again, Florida proves itself to be the most corrupt state with these hard right republicans in power. Its not about saving money, its about giving the contracts to their buddies with propoganda that they will or have saved money. Everyone in the mex knows its a big lie, but no one can do anything about it. Its just plain sick.

HR

Thank you BettyW.

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