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Hawaii bill would classify homelessness as medical condition

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HONOLULU — A Hawaii lawmaker wants to classify homelessness as a medical condition and let homeless people use Medicaid money to pay for housing.

State Sen. Josh Green is also a medical doctor and says conditions like diabetes or mental illness are more difficult for patients to manage when they lack stable homes.

He says the best way to solve homelessness is to allow doctors to write prescriptions for housing.

Green last week introduced a bill in the Hawaii Legislature to classify chronic homelessness as a medical condition and require insurance companies to cover treatment.

More than a dozen states are finding ways to use Medicaid money for social services to help people stay in housing.

But they have not found a way to spend federal Medicaid money directly on housing.