Fix to Medicaid Anomaly in the Works

Congressman Barney Frank is about to introduce a bill to fix a little-known inequity that has been imbedded in the Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts) law since 1988.

Under the Medicaid rules, a covered nursing home resident must apply virtually all of her income towards her cost of care.  However, under certain circumstances she is allowed a deduction to help support a spouse living at home or dependent children.

The inequity written into the law is that the deduction allowed to support dependent children, who are either minors or disabled, is only available if there is a living spouse.  If the nursing home resident is widowed or divorced, the deduction for dependent children is unavailable.

While this feature of the law affects relatively few people, it has a significant impact on those it does affect.  Practitioners in the field have been aware of this situation for years, but have accepted it as a fact of life.

Now, as the result of the tireless efforts of Laura Henze Russell of Sharon, Massachusetts, Rep. Barney Frank is about to introduce the Virtual Orphans Gap Fix bill to remedy this situation.  You can have an impact on the success of the bill by calling your senators and representative to ask that they sign on to the bill.  You can reach them at the following telephone numbers:

U.S. House: 202-225-3121                    U.S. Senate: 202-224-3121

For more information about the bill, you can contact Ms. Russell at

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