Yesterday we discussed the release of the federal Long-Term Care Commission’s final report. As mentioned, the major glaring issue with the report was its relative silence on financing solutions for this care. The Commission was made up of individuals with varying interests–from owners to residents–who have very different incentives. Issues regarding payment for long-term care services, particular Medicaid, is always a contentious topic. In that vein, it is perhaps not surprising that the report did not issue conclusive recommendations on that front.
Yet, that did not stop a subset of the Commission from issuing their own dissent which directly addressed the financing issue. A full version of that 17-page alternative report can be read online here.
The five members creating the second report argued that their additional comments were necessary because the Commission as a whole did not give sufficient attention to the financing issue. Hitting on the key issue undergirding the second report, one committee member, Judy Feder from the Urban Institute Fellow and Professor, Georgetown Public Policy Institute, explained: “The need for extensive and expensive long-term services is a catastrophic risk for people both under and over age 65. Today, neither private insurance nor public programs protect us against that risk. Private insurance has demonstrated it can’t, by itself, do the job. A public program has to be the bedrock on which we build an effective LTSS financing system.”
Essentially, this alternative body is calling for a more expansive, public LTSS system (long-term services and support). In addition, the group had other recommendations like living wages for home-care workers and expanded Medicaid benefits. The group believes that the added benefits could be covered by increases in payroll taxes and/or premium supports.
Critics of the alternative report suggested that, while added benefits would be welcome by seniors participating in the Medicaid program, the recommendations may be politically unrealistic. After all, we are currently in the midst of a stalemate in D.C. which may lead to a government shutdown. An agreement on tax increased to pay for a more robust LTSS systems is unlikely with this political makeup.
For help planning for your own long-term care, be sure to visit an elder law attorney today.