Brown commends DOC and Secretary Wetzel for action to ensure wider access to medical care for incarcerated individuals

HARRISBURG, May 28 – State Rep. Amen Brown, D-Phila., today issued the following statement on the Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel’s action to waive all medical co-pays for inmates due to public health concerns and to ensure wider access to care.

“I applaud the most recent action to suspend medical co-pays for inmates. I want to thank Secretary Wetzel and the Department of Corrections staff on their willingness to work on common-sense solutions for those incarcerated and their families,” Brown said.

During budget hearings, Brown posed his concern regarding the department’s required $5 co-pay for incarcerated individuals receiving medical care. The exchange led to a series of meetings between Brown and Wetzel, including a tour of SCI Chester and a focus group with those incarcerated. 

As a result of this collaboration, Brown formally requested that DOC and Wetzel consider waiving co-pays. Upon consultations with his team, Wetzel decided to waive all co-pays during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing public health concerns and access issues.  

“These co-pays can often be a barrier to accessing healthcare,” Brown noted. “Even without the severe effects of the pandemic, this issue demands action. And the suspension of co-pays demonstrates action in practice, moving us in a better direction. I call on my colleagues in the General Assembly to support my upcoming legislative effort to permanently eliminate all co-pays for those incarcerated. 

“Simply put, everyone deserves access to health care no matter their circumstance.”

For any questions regarding this action or other legislative initiatives, members of the public can email or visit to contact Brown.