A society should be judged by how we treat our elders.
A recent study by the University of Massachusetts measured the Elder Economic Security index, which is essentially the resources that elders require in order to age in place and meet their individual needs. Sixty-one percent of elderly individuals in Massachusetts live below the index cut-off line for minimum required resources. That means their income doesn’t allow them to age in place independently while meeting basic needs. In fact, because of our relatively high cost of living, Massachusetts is the second worst state in the nation for elder economic security, second only to Mississippi.
Please take a moment to look at the elder-focused bills I have filed this session.
You can also view all bills I’ve co-sponsored this session here.
Home Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities
SD.527, An Act supporting equal access to community care for elders and the disabled
Current law makes seniors and people with disabilities ineligible for home care if their income goes just a penny above the income limit, a policy often called the “cliff effect.” My bill will allow eligible people to receive MassHealth home and community-based care even if their income is over the program income limit, if they pay a premium equal to their income above the limit.
Death with Dignity
SD.801, An Act relative to end of life options
As Senate Chair of the Public Health Committee last session, I had the opportunity to dig into the medical aid-in-dying legislation and listen deeply to Commonwealth residents. We heard harrowing stories from people whose relatives suffered during their last days, and we heard about the need to provide a voluntary medical option for terminally-ill people to control the timing and manner of their death. My bill allows someone who is terminally ill to choose a peaceful death with dignity, by requesting medication from a doctor that the person may self-administer at a time of their own choosing, should suffering become unbearable. This bill protects all patients, affords dying people autonomy and compassion during the most difficult time, and protects potentially vulnerable people from any coercion.
Protect Homes of Deceased MassHealth Members
SD.1031, An Act protecting the homes of seniors and disabled people on MassHealth
MassHealth, our Medicaid program, demands repayment after death from the estates or families of low-income people who received Medicaid health care services after age 55. Over 90 percent of these repayments come from the sale of the family home. My bill limits the estate recovery program so that repayment is only sought where it is required by the federal government, as well as strengthens advance notice requirements and expands hardship waiver criteria.