By Bob Katzen
The Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee held a hearing on legislation that would expand the current law that allows most family members, except spouses, to serve as a paid caregiver for relatives with disabilities who are eligible for nursing home care under MassHealth—the state’s Medicaid program that provides health care for low-income and disabled persons. The bill would allow a spouse to be a paid caregiver.
“This bill is a simple and compassionate piece of legislation, that will also yield savings for the state,” said Senate sponsor Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton). “Current state policy penalizes people with disabilities who wish to use their spouse as their caregiver, despite their spouse’s ability to provide loving care at costs below that of nursing homes. My bill will reverse that policy and direct MassHealth to recognize and compensate a spouse as a caregiver if requested by the patient, just like other family relatives. The vulnerability of people to COVID-19 makes this bill more urgent than ever.”