NCOA Statement on Federal Long-Term Care Commission Recommendations
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NCOA Statement on Federal Long-Term Care Commission Recommendations

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September 13, 2013

Media Contact
Jean Van Ryzin
202-600-3166
jean.vanryzin@ncoa.org

Statement of Howard Bedlin, NCOA Vice President for Public Policy & Advocacy

Washington, DC – 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.

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About NCOA  The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them. Our goal is to improve the health, independence, and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. For more than 60 years, NCOA has been a trusted voice and innovative problem-solver helping seniors navigate the challenges of aging in America. We work with local and national partners to give older adults tools and information to stay healthy and secure, and we advocate for programs and policies to improve the lives of all seniors, especially the most vulnerable. For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org.

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