First, the state Department of Corrections stopped prisoners from wearing their own clothes. Now it's cutting health care spending. Faced with a $15 million shortfall in its health care budget, the agency plans to reduce staff, cut pharmaceutical spending and limit the number of visits to specialists. "The changes we're making won't just reduce spending, they will actually improve the quality of the health care we provide in our prisons," DOC health services director Ken Taylor said in a press release today. Really? Just like HMOs improved the quality of health care among the general public, no doubt.
Of course, prison health care may not have been so hot to begin with. One thing that is changing, according to the press release, is that some over-the-counter medicine like Tylenol will now be available without a prescription. A prescription for Tylenol? You can bet that many headaches went on for some time before those prescriptions wound their way through the prison system's multiayered bureaucracy.