There are three certainties in life if you live in Massachusetts: death, taxes, and seizure of a Medicaid recipient's home or assets when they die to pay for outstanding medical bills.

It's disgraceful that the Commonwealth is among a handful of states that grabs a Medicaid patient's house and assets after they pass away if they owe outstanding medical bills. It's called "estate recovery," which is supervised by MassHealth.

Imagine losing a loved one and then the government comes in and lays claim to their home because of their debt. This is so wrong. A lot of other states don't fall to this appalling level, so why, in the birthplace of American democracy, does our state and federal government act more like a fascist one?

There's plenty of blame to ration out to Washington politicians, too. Under federal law, Medicaid patients who are 55 and older are required to repay the government for medical expenses. But Massachusetts is one of only a few states that have authorized and sanctioned the seizure of homes, properties, assets and possessions after those recipients die in order to settle the delinquent medical debt.

We need a better solution. We need a fairer solution.

After all this, Hell should be easy.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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