WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is disappointed that the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care could not provide clear direction on the financing of long-term care in its recommendations adopted on Sept. 12.
This, however, is the fault of the Congress, not the Commission. Significant time and resource constraints made it impossible for the Commission to craft an actuarially sound proposal that addresses the roles of the public and private sectors in helping middle-class families afford and access long-term care.
The time is long overdue for Congress to step up, pay attention, and act to address our nation’s emerging long-term care crisis. The rapidly growing aging population—particularly among those over age 85—means that we ignore this issue at our great peril. Medicare does not cover long-term care, private insurance is unaffordable or unavailable to the vast majority of Americans, and individuals and families are forced to spend-down their life savings into poverty before getting help from Medicaid.
NCOA believes we must work together on a bipartisan basis to establish a voluntary, national long-term care insurance program that:
- Is actuarially sound
- Is largely self-funded
- Increases affordable options for working Americans
- Does not exclude purchasers based on pre-existing health conditions
- Improves market opportunities for private insurance options
- Produces significant savings to Medicaid
As an active member of the nation’s leading coalitions representing seniors and people with disabilities—the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)—NCOA supports a set of joint principles on long-term care that were submitted to the Commission. These principles should form the foundation for future reform.
There are several modest, positive Commission recommendations that NCOA supports, such as promoting community-based services, supporting family caregivers, improving the direct care workforce, and enhancing quality.
It is now time for Congress to stop ignoring the problem and take action. Far too many members of Congress are out of touch with the enormous challenges faced by millions of middle-class families struggling to afford long-term care services needed to stay at home and out of institutions and relieve the tremendous economic, physical, and emotional burdens of caregiving. Congress should establish long-term care subcommittees and create a permanent body, similar to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), to address long-term care and its financing.
NCOA will continue to work with Congress, the White House, and other organizations—including those representing seniors, people with disabilities, providers, and insurers—to craft bipartisan solutions to help millions of families afford the long-term care they need in the least restrictive setting possible.
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA’s mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. www.ncoa.org |www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging