Rep. Ahern's nursing home Medicaid eligibility bill advances

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With the state worried about Medicaid costs, a House committee approved a bill Wednesday aimed at trying to prevent people from shielding assets when a family member needs nursing-home care. Sponsor Larry Ahern, R-St. Petersburg, said HB 1289 would help close a ?oophole?that allows relatives to enter into personal-services contracts before a family member enters a nursing home, reports the News Service of Florida. That can allow the family member to transfer assets and become eligible for Medicaid coverage. ?t is legal at this point,?Ahern told the House Appropriations Committee, which voted 13-7 for the bill. ?hat? the problem.?But Victoria Heuler, a Tallahassee elder-law attorney, argued against the bill, saying it is ?otentially devastating to our families, our caregivers.?The Senate? proposed Medicaid overhaul (SB 1972) includes a similar proposal. A stand-alone Senate bill (SB 1356) has been filed but has not moved forward.

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