Kathryn Roberts, Ecumen CEO, (above with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar) recently participated in a town hall meeting on long-term care with the Senator.  Minnpost.com had an interesting interview with Sen. Klobuchar on health care reform last week.  In it, she spoke on innovation in long-term care.  Kudos to her for supporting The CLASS Act:

MinnPost: What is something that is missing from this discussion right now?

Klobuchar: As Congress considers health care reform, eldercare is the elephant in the room.  It needs to be better addressed.  Both Minnesota and the nation will soon experience major changes as the Baby Boom generation reaches retirement age and as ever more Americans live into their 80s and beyond.  By the year 2035, Minnesota’s population over age 65 will more than double, as will our population 85 and older.  The well-being and financial security of families depends not only on access to affordable medical services, but also access to affordable, reliable long-term care — including care that allows seniors to live independently as long as possible.

I would hope that Senator [Edward] Kennedy’s CLASS Act, which provides an optional self-directed insurance plan for long-term care, would be included in health reform.  The CLASS Act would help provide a safety net for individuals that need long term care, and save taxpayer dollars. I also have several proposals that help to provide better information and choices for long-term care insurance, making it easier for people to access long-term care services and understand their long-term care insurance policies.

We also know that most eldercare comes from informal, unpaid caregivers — and we must help provide resources and support for these caregivers.  My bill, the AGE Act, helps provide a tax credit to these informal caregivers and establishes a National Caregiving Resource Center to provide better access to information for caregiving services.  Making elder care a priority in health care reform is good for our seniors, our families and our businesses.  And because providing care to seniors at home is far less expensive than in a nursing home, it’s also good for all of us as taxpayers.