Nebraska prisoners and jail inmates would have to provide a $10 co-payment for non-emergency health care each time they request it, under a bill proposed in the Legislature on Wednesday.
Sen. Tyson Larson of O'Neill proposed the measure that would require county jails to deduct the payment from inmates' personal accounts. Inmates who have less than $10 would lose half of each new deposit until the payment was covered.
Larson says he was approached by a county sheriff in his district who complained that inmate requests for health care were pulling deputies away from their regular duties. He says 37 other states require co-payments from inmates, including Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas.
The bill includes exceptions for emergency care, mental health or substance abuse treatments and treatment of a chronic illness.