Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/30/1993 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 208:  ELIGIBILITY FOR LONGEVITY BONUS                                     
                                                                               
  Number 226                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY concurred and read the title to HB 208, then                  
  invited its sponsor to deliver his statement.                                
                                                                               
  Number 237                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MIKE NAVARRE, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 208,                        
  advised the bill was designed to clarify the intent to                       
  prevent non-state funds from keeping seniors from getting a                  
  longevity bonus check.  He stated there was concern non-                     
  state funds, such as Medicare and the veterans' insurance                    
  program, are causing seniors to lose their rightful                          
  longevity bonus checks when they needed them most, possibly                  
  during temporary illnesses.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 262                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked if under the provisions of HB
  208, every person in a nursing home would be allowed to keep                 
  their longevity bonus check.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 266                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE replied in the negative.  He stated a                 
  person would only get to keep the check if their care was                    
  being paid for by all federal funds, without state monies.                   
  He stated many of those eligible for the longevity bonus are                 
  penalized because of the flaw in the current law.                            
                                                                               
  Number 273                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked why it was wrong to reduce the benefit                  
  from one social service program when the same people might                   
  be getting a larger payment from another social program.                     
                                                                               
  Number 290                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE stated if someone was temporarily                     
  disabled, and placed in a nursing home for a short period,                   
  their care is paid for by Medicare, which does not cover all                 
  costs.  He stated the longevity bonus money could be used to                 
  cover the remainder.  He also said several people trying to                  
  maintain their independence from social programs would be                    
  penalized, and possibly forced into joining such programs.                   
  He stated the hardships put upon people trying to maintain                   
  their homes while recovering from a temporary illness would                  
  be unreasonable.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 342                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated it would be no different from                          
  receiving the care from the state, and it would not cover                    
  mortgage or utility payments.  He stated there was an                        
  iniquity in allowing people to benefit from a federal                        
  program and still receive a bonus check, but not those who                   
  are helped under a state program.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 354                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE gave an example:  If one member of a                  
  married couple broke a hip and was placed in a nursing home                  
  for a temporary period, the $250 dollar check would aid the                  
  other member of the couple in maintaining and keeping their                  
  home while the first person recovered.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 361                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY replied even under that scenario, the state                   
  would be giving those people special treatment.                              
                                                                               
  Number 366                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE replied the state would not be harmed                 
  by allowing the checks to be delivered during a temporary                    
  stay in the hospital or nursing home, and may actually help                  
  keep seniors off public assistance.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 354                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS stated a $250 dollar check would                     
  make a big difference to many people living on fixed incomes                 
  who may be trying to keep a home.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 382                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated the money could be used much more                      
  equitably if the amount was applied to those people who may                  
  not be getting any benefits at all.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 403                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE stated if the bonus was taken away                    
  from the people who might be in the position of losing a                     
  home during a temporary illness, it might backfire on the                    
  state.  He stated there was a possibility seniors might end                  
  up on some type of public assistance which could cost far                    
  more than the bonus itself.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 442                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY thanked Representative Navarre for his                        
  testimony and called for other witnesses.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 447                                                                   
                                                                               
  DENNY DEWITT, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF PIONEER BENEFITS,                  
  DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION, stated there was a need for HB
  208.  He believed most recipients who might benefit from HB
  208 are those affected by a short-term disability as                         
  described previously.  He stated the difference between                      
  Medicaid and Medicare is that Medicare is designed for                       
  temporary use, and contains no state money in the payments.                  
  Medicaid is a combination 50-50 split between the state and                  
  federal government.  He said Medicare patients are the ones                  
  who lose the bonus when they should not under the intent of                  
  the original law.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 500                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if there was a danger seniors might get                 
  on a federal program, stay long term, and then transition to                 
  the combination federal/state program, which could cost the                  
  state money.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 518                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. DEWITT stated a number of seniors are economically                       
  vulnerable during illnesses, and taking the bonus away from                  
  them increased the chances they would lose the ability to                    
  pay for a home, and consequently go on public assistance.                    
                                                                               
  Number 528                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if it was a disservice to allow the                     
  longevity bonus to people who might otherwise get twice as                   
  much on adult public assistance.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 540                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. DEWITT said in spite of the difference between the                       
  amounts paid, most seniors did not want to go on public                      
  assistance, and the key for most people was trying to remain                 
  financially independent.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 565                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS MOVED PASSAGE of HB 208 and asked                    
  for unanimous consent; there were no objections, and IT SO                   
  MOVED.                                                                       
                                                                               

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