Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tackling the Medicaid Planning "Ethics" Issue Head-On

I expect this topic will generate considerable discussion. 

John B. Payne, long-time practitioner in Michigan and Pennsylvania, addresses a fundamental issue for those working in the law and aging policy arena: whether so-called "Medicaid Planning" is somehow wrong.  In doing so, he considers several important perspectives.  John starts by identifying six different "constituencies" who are "involved in or affected by planning steps," including legislators, public welfare administrators, nursing home operators, lawyers, judges, and commentators.  The article, "Ethical and Public Policy Considerations Related to Medicaid Planning," is the lead in the October 2013 issue of the Pennsylvania Bar Quarterly.  The abstract provides:

"This paper discusses moral, ethical, and public-policy issues regarding Medicaid planning -- transferring or converting assets of a long-term care consumer to create Medicaid eligibility.  The author argues that it is not unethical to qualify a nursing-home resident for Medicaid by means of asset transfers where the resident will receive the same service under Medicaid as he or she would receive as a private-pay patient.  The author further contends that an applicant's lawyer would have an ethical and moral obligation to the client and the client’s family to maximize Medicaid payments for nursing care where it is clear that the client would want Medicaid to cover the cost of care.  Finally, the author urges that the state’s or commonwealth’s fiscal concerns should not be given priority by a court above a Medicaid candidate’s legitimate desire to preserve his or her wealth in the face of ruinously expensive nursing home costs."

Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid | Permalink

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