Nebraska lawmakers reject copayment for inmate health care

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A bill to permit jails and prisons to charge inmates a copayment for health care services has been rejected by the Legislature for the rest of the year.

Lawmakers voted unanimously Tuesday to hold the measure until April 20, nearly guaranteeing it will not be revisited this session.

The proposal by Sen. Tyson Larson of O'Neill would allow copayments of up to $10 for every self-initiated, non-emergency visit to a health care provider. Exceptions would include treatment for mental health, preexisting conditions, chronic illnesses and medical emergencies.

Opponents note that the Department of Correctional Services has said it would not enact the policy if the law passed. Some say a copayment could discourage inmates from seeking medical help.