Changing Aging Blog

Minneapolis Star Tribune: A Growing Price Tag for Long-Term Care
Date: Dec 12th, 2008 4:57am

Author:

Eric Schubert

Following is an excerpt from a Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial yesterday on long-term care financing …

While poor children, their parents or pregnant women make up the majority of Medicaid enrollees, two-thirds of the Medicaid budget is spent on the elderly and disabled. One-third of the program’s total spending goes toward long-term care, which is why reform here could yield dramatic savings and benefits. Unfortunately, while there is traction in Washington and at the state level for medical health care reform -- especially in Medicare -- long-term care finance has not been enough of a priority. \It’s been completely absent from the health care reform debate at the state level so far,'' said John Tschida, Courage Center’s vice president of public affairs and research.That has to change. Overhauling long-term care doesn’t mean starting from scratch. Proposals to revamp Medicare -- rewarding high-quality providers and finding ways to deliver services efficiently-- also make sense for Medicaid. In addition, there are a number of thoughtful proposals to increase the number of people who buy long-term care coverage -- from tax incentives to public-private insurance programs. One idea worthy of more discussion -- a public-private savings plan modeled on an initiative from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging -- was advocated on the opinion pages this week by Kathryn Roberts, CEO and president of Ecumen, and Jan Malcolm, CEO of Courage Center.Read the full article here.

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