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How Medicaid Estate Recovery Perpetuates Poverty

Federal law requires that state Medicaid programs attempt to recover costs  from estates of deceased recipients. Estate claims often force heirs to sell a family home that otherwise would have been passed down. Because home ownership is one of the few ways to build generational wealth for lower-income families, the burdens of estate recovery fall disproportionately on economically oppressed families and communities of color.

A new issue brief, Medicaid Estate Claims: Perpetuating Poverty and Inequality for Minimal Return, makes the case that Congress should end mandatory Medicaid estate recovery. The report, authored as a collaboration between Justice in Aging, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), National Health Law Program (NHeLP), and Western Center on Law & Poverty, also includes recommendations to limit estate claims from a recent report to Congress by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC).

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