Honolulu, Hawaii – Noboru Kawamoto, who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and fought in Italy during World War II, lives in a Community Care Foster Family Home (CCFFH) in Kaneohe and is a private-pay patient meaning he does not rely on Medicaid as he is able to pay his own way.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) says the department must ensure the availability of CCFFHs for all Medicaid recipients who do not have the means to privately pay for housing. The DHS requirement is that only one private-pay client can reside in any one CCFFH.
Elaine Kawamoto, Noboru’s wife for the last 67 years, wants to remain in the community with her husband rather than go into a nursing home. Because of the DHS requirement she is unable to live in the same house with her husband and only sees him on weekends.
HB600 would remove that requirement and allow two private-pay residents and one Medicaid recipient in a CCFFH under certain conditions.
“I understand the need to provide long term housing for Medicaid patients” said Rep. Mizuno. “However allowing couples who have spent their whole lives with each other, to live out their final years together has to take precedent over the State’s need to provide for Medicaid clients.
“It’s just the right thing to do. I believe marriage is a fundamental right and unless the State can provide a compelling reason to keep this couple apart, this bill needs to become law.”
HB600 was heard in the joint committees of Health and Human Services earlier today. The committees deferred decision making until Wednesday, February 18th.