“Filial responsibility” laws and nursing home bills

A number of states have what are sometimes known as filial responsibility laws which obligate adult children to pay for their parents’ medical and nursing-home care. In Pennsylvania, nursing home lawyers have been known to pursue lawsuits against out-of-state children who are estranged from the parents in question. (Monica Yant Kinney, “If mom can’t pay, adult child must”, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jul. 12).

More on these laws: Jane Gross, NYT; Everyday Simplicity; Do Ask Do Tell.


  • So, how does this pass the bill of attainder (I think that’s the right clause in the Constitution) test where a son can’t be held to account for the crimes of the father?

  • What a horror! I would hate if we started to have to pay real $$$ for my alcoholic mother-in-law who’s been in and out of rehab clinics all her life and never made an honest nickel in her life. We give her a small check every month; I hope that doesn’t make us liable to pay more.

    I would sooner go to jail than pay it. We have no children and we must carefully save everything we can that (Barack Obama and Congress doesn’t confiscate from us) to ensure that we won’t be living on the street when we get old.

    Sadly, with all this talk of means-testing Social Security and Medicaid, we may find ourselves no better off than if we haven’t led frugal lives. The government want to extract every penny from every honest hard-working taxpayer (about 10% of the population IMHO), and support the rest of the nation on it.