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Letting Heirs Bilk Medicaid Is Bad Policy

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Stephen Moses

Visiting Fellow

Stephen Moses is president of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform. The Center promotes universal access to top-quality long-term care by encouraging private financing as an alternative to Medicaid dependency for most Americans. Previously, Mr. Moses was president of the Center for Long- Term Care Financing (1998-2005), Director of Research for LTC, Inc., (1989-98), a senior analyst for the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1987-89), a Medicaid state representative for the Health Care Financing Administration (1978-87), a HHS Departmental Management Intern (1975-78), and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Venezuela (1968-1970). He is widely recognized as an expert and innovator in the field of long-term care.

Brian Blase
PresidentatParagon Health Institute

Brian Blase, Ph.D., is the President of Paragon Health Institute. Brian was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC) from 2017-2019, where he coordinated the development and execution of numerous health policies and advised the President, NEC director, and senior officials. After leaving the White House, Brian founded Blase Policy Strategies and serves as its CEO.

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More than a dozen members of the House of Representatives have introduced legislation that would increase federal Medicaid spending by ending “estate recoveries.” The proposal, which was discussed at an Energy and Commerce Committee legislative hearing on April 30, would let individuals secure their inheritances by putting their parents on Medicaid and forcing taxpayers to fund their long-term care (LTC).

Federal law requires that states recover the cost of LTC benefits from Medicaid recipients’ estates. This rule would ensure that large resources currently exempt from Medicaid-financial-eligibility limits, such as home equity, are also tapped to offset care costs and preserve resources for the benefit of many others who truly need Medicaid.

But recent Associated Press and New York Times stories rebuke Medicaid estate recoveries and claim that these target “dead people’s homes.” These criticisms are unwise, counterproductive, and harmful to the poor.

Medicaid is the primary payer for LTC, the mostly custodial assistance critically needed by frail, infirm, or disabled people. LTC consumes a disproportionate share of Medicaid expenditures. Just 21 percent of Medicaid recipients are aged, blind, or disabled, but 55 percent of Medicaid expenditures go to services for them, mostly for LTC.

The full article can be found in National Review.

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