June 6, 2017
Trump Repeal of Nursing Home Rip-Off Clauses Leaves Seniors and Families Defenseless Against Abuse and Fraud
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: The Trump administration has proposed overturning an Obama-era regulation that forbids nursing homes from forcing patients and their families to sign binding arbitration agreements to live in a nursing facility.
The Trump administration apparently thinks it is okay for nursing homes to force seniors into signing contract terms that give up their right to sue in court if they are subsequently victimized by neglect or abuse. It’s hard to imagine a more callous policy.
The rule issued by the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) would have prohibited nursing homes from including forced arbitration “rip-off clauses” – the terms that prevent consumers from suing in court – into contracts, and force them instead before corporate-friendly arbitrators.
Anyone who has ever had a family member move into a nursing home, or anyone with an ounce of sense and compassion, would recognize that seniors and their families undergoing an incredibly challenging transition are in no position to bargain over obscure contract terms – terms they probably do not even understand.
Today, in one of its first affirmatively proposed regulations, the Trump administration sees fit to repeal this humanitarian consumer protection. What a heartless and vile act.