California could gain tens of millions of dollars annually in federal reimbursements for sick prison inmates under the nation's new health care law.
State and federal officials said the money would come from higher Medicaid reimbursements for inmates who are treated in outside hospitals. It would not help pay for health care within prisons.
A nationwide study of prison health care spending released by The Pew Charitable Trusts uses an estimate from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office that California could save nearly $70 million annually.
The savings would be a fraction of the $2 billion the state spends annually for inmate medical, mental health and dental care.