George Soros and Obama administration fund Chicago group enrolling prisoners in Obamacare
Progressive billionaire George Soros and the Obama administration help fund the Chicago nonprofit that set up Obamacare enrollment programs for prison inmates.
Chicago-based Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) helped establish Obamacare enrollment programs for prisoners at Chicago’s Cook County Jail. Cook County is one of at least six states and counties enrolling prisoners to help shift inmate medical costs to federal taxpayers.
“A lot of states will come to this, because state corrections budgets are huge and county jail budgets are huge,” said TASC spokesperson Maureen McDonnell.
TASC, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, is funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), records reveal.
Soros’ foundation and HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration are part of a small group of TASC donors that includes Cook County, the city of Chicago, and the state of Illinois’ Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services, and Department of Children and Family Services.
Open Society Foundations provided TASC a $49,417 grant to TASC in 2012 “to conduct an inventory and analysis of community-based alternative approaches to punitive drug policies and law enforcement at the “front-end” of the criminal adjudication process.”
TASC representatives joined officials from the Obama administration’s HHS and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Open Society Foundation’s Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap grantees gathering in Washington, D.C. in February 2011.
Former TASC director of research and policy Lisa Feldman Braude, who now works as an Obamacare implementation consultant, managed an Open Society Foundation inventory of clinical sentencing diversion programs in 2012.
TASC led the research for a 2011 Illinois state commission that found that blacks are more likely to be sentenced to prison for drug offenses than whites.
“TASC does not provide treatment, but instead we are independent advocates who place clients into community-based treatment programs and other services that will help them succeed,” read a statement on the group’s website.
The Illinois Corrections Department is also trying to get Medicaid coverage for prisoners hospitalized for at least 24 hours (which would create more incentive for prison hospitals to keep inmates in the infirmary longer, increasing costs) and for all prisoners who are close to release.
TASC did not return a request for comment for this report.