Unpublished Papers

Ethical and Public Policy Considerations Related to Medicaid Planning

John B. Payne


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 there would not be an ethical hurdle to qualifying a nursing-home resident for Medicaid 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 the 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.

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