Breaking News on Long Term Care Reform

From the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution: February 22, 2016 – The Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative (LTCFC), a diverse group of policy experts and stakeholders from across the political spectrum, is proposing major changes in the way long-term care is financed and delivered in the US.

More than 12 million Americans (both frail older adults and younger people with disabilities) need personal assistance to live independently and with dignity, a number that is expected to double by mid-century. Paid assistance in any setting is expensive and beyond the reach of most families. As a result, family members make enormous physical, emotional, and financial sacrifices to assist parents or other relatives. Profound demographic changes will magnify these burdens in coming years.

For the past 30 years, policymakers attempted to respond to the challenges of financing long-term services and supports, but with little success. The Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative began meeting in 2012 with the goal of developing widely supportable and actionable recommendations for a public and private insurance-based financing system that empowers all people to receive high quality services and supports.

In its report released yesterday, the Collaborative recommends a broad package of reforms aimed at empowering people of all incomes to receive high-quality long-term services and supports. Download the full report.

I find this report encouraging because it addresses the real needs and diverse desires of people with disabilities and chronic conditions who require long term support services. It also accurately reflects the true impact their needs have on caregivers and our society as a whole. It is the first time I’ve read realistic recommendations that don’t have a bias in favor of commercial interests. As a member of the middle class I feel – perhaps for the first time – that my needs have been considered (right along with people of lesser means) in the development of these recommendations. I hope you’ll read the complete report as well as the press release below.

Diverse Group of Policy Experts and Stakeholders Proposes Major Long-Term Care Reforms

New Public and Private Initiatives Recommended to Meet Growing Unmet Need

The Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative (LTCFC), a diverse group of policy experts and stakeholders from across the political spectrum, is proposing major changes in the way long-term care is financed and delivered in the US. In its report released today, the Collaborative recommends a broad package of reforms aimed at empowering people of all incomes to receive high-quality long-term services and supports.

The Collaborative proposes:

•Clear private and public roles for long-term care financing.

•A new universal catastrophic long-term care insurance program. This would shift today’s welfare-based system to an insurance model.

•Redefining Medicaid LTSS to empower greater autonomy and choice in services and settings.

•Increasing retirement savings and improving public education on long-term care costs and needs.

The Collaborative released its final report today at a press conference featuring Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and members of the Collaborative. Today’s report expands on the Collaborative’s July 2015 recommendations for improving delivery of long-term care. That report proposed steps to better coordinate Long Term Support Services (LTSS) and medical care, and strengthen support for the family members and communities that provide most assistance for those with long-term care needs. Copies of the reports are available on the Convergence website.

The Collaborative’s recommendations are based on shared principles, a vision of a better future for those with LTSS needs, and on the best research available.

Washington conventional wisdom says it is impossible to find a policy solution to the challenges of long- term care financing. The Collaborative showed the conventional wisdom is wrong. People from across the political spectrum with broadly diverse interests did find a workable, consensus resolution to this important problem. – Howard Gleckman, The Urban Institute

Encouraging private long-term care insurance initiatives to lower cost and increase enrollment. “It doesn’t matter whether your politics are right, left, or center, paying for long-term care for our loved ones is a difficult challenge that nearly all American families are facing or will face in the coming years. This shared challenge, a desire to find real solutions, and a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue is the common ground on which Collaborative members stand.” Jennie Chin Hansen, Immediate Past CEO, American Geriatrics Society

About: The Collaborative is convened by Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that brings together people and groups with conflicting views to build trust, identify solutions, and form alliances for action on critical national issues.

Let the Reader Become Aware: Interestingly, when USA reported on this far-reaching document, they focused mainly on the insurance industry with a title reading “Bipartisan group calls for universal long-term care insurance plans” and the following highly-simplistic lead:

The long-term care costs for our aging population are growing so fast and can be so financially overwhelming for families that the United States needs a universal catastrophic insurance program similar to Medicare, a bipartisan policy group announced Monday.