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In nursing homes, impoverished live final days on pennies 

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New York-based writer Matt Sedensky of the Global Enterprise Team described the deplorable situations encountered by some of the nation’s most vulnerable people in a powerful story that paired accountability reporting with emotional personal accounts.  

Most U.S. nursing home residents have their care paid by Medicaid and, in exchange, must hand over any income they receive. To ensure the residents have some spending money, the U.S. government set up a monthly allowance. But Congress hasn’t raised the minimum rate of $30 a month in 36 years. Faced with federal inaction, some states have taken it upon themselves to raise allowances. Even so, most remain low. 

Sedensky’s story drew attention to the little-known problem that affects hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. He received hundreds of emails asking how people could help.

At the center of the piece was Alex Morisey, a Philadelphia man left so impoverished he didn’t even have spare money for a Diet Pepsi. Evocative photos of him by Maye-E Wong of the Global Enterprise Team and an interactive map by Francois Duckett of Graphics showing how much nursing home residents in each state receive each month provided compelling visuals. 

The story garnered more than 80,000 page views on its first day, was a top performer in engagement and ran on newspaper front pages across the country.  

For eye-opening coverage, Sedensky, Wong and Duckett share this week’s Best of the Week — Second Winner.  

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