Oregonians who get arrested and go to jail lose their health insurance benefits, and counties start picking up the cost of their medical care.
The Salem Statesman Journal reports that (http://stjr.nl/MoLdff) sheriffs are now asking the Legislature to require health insurers to cover inmates until they stand trial.
The sheriffs say that just one inmate with serious health problems can raise health care expenditures by hundreds of thousands of dollars, cutting the money available for deputies and patrols.
One legislator says excluding inmates from benefits before they go to trial amounts to discriminating against them because they can't make bail.
The insurance industry argues the constitution requires government to provide care for inmates.
A House committee passed the measure, and it's now in the joint budget committee.