- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - A couple married for 68 years is suing over laws preventing the wife from living in the husband’s care home.

Hawaii limits two- to three-bed nursing facilities known as community care foster family homes to a single non-Medicaid patient at a time.

The law affects private-pay clients like 95-year-old Noboru Kawamoto and his 89-year-old wife, Elaine.

Their lawsuit against Gov. David Ige, Director of Health Virginia Pressler and Human Services Director Rachel Wong says the limit is unconstitutional.

Pressler and Wong have said there are other options that allow the Kawamotos to live together.

Lawyer Jeffrey Portnoy is representing the Kawamotos.

“Sure, there are other options,” he said, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “But that’s not the point.”

A two-year exception allowed Sidney and Terry Kaide to live together until Sidney’s death, according to the Star-Advertiser. That exception expired and legislation to make it permanent has failed twice.

“What we’ve done is we’ve challenged this statute after giving the legislature, the governor and the attorney general time to remedy this,” Portnoy said according to KHON-TV. “Medicare and Medicaid patients will be protected if they need these beds. But people who have money and are in their 80s and 90s should be not separated in the last years of their lives.”

Officials with the governor and attorney general’s office say the lawsuit has yet to be served and they had no comment.

“It does not appear that we have yet been served with the complaint,” said a statement from the attorney general’s office. “Once we are served with the complaint we will review it and respond appropriately in due course.”

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