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End of Life Medicaid Planning

By: NBC 15
By: NBC 15

Some state lawmakers would like to require every person that receives Medicaid to sign a living will.

A committee working on Medicaid reform says too many people receiving the state health insurance don't have end of life directives.

The issue recently became a national topic during the debate over Teri Schiavo. The Department of Health and Family Services says last year more than a hundred people on Medicaid were in a persistent vegetative state, and the state was paying for their medical care at a cost of $6 million a year.

A spokesman says they would like everyone to have a living will, but making it a requirement could cause a big problem for the budget strapped program.

Jason Helgerson from the Department of Health and Family Services says, "With a program as large as Medicaid, we're talking about over 800,000 people, it could be problematic. We would be very nervous about trying to implement this under a short time line."

The department fears some people could lose their insurance if they fail to properly fill out some paperwork.


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