NU Online News Service, Aug. 19, 2003, 5:28 p.m. EDT – The new chairman of the National Governors Association, Washington, said today at the association’s annual meeting that he will organize an initiative that will focus on long term care.

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a Republican, observed during his speech that a combination of high life expectancy and increased rates of chronic illness paint a bleak picture for the U.S. long term care system.

“We know the problem because of what it does to our budgets,” Kempthorne said, according to a written summary of his remarks distributed by the NGA. “But it is more than budgets. It is more than legislation. It is people. It is dignity. And we need common sense solutions to truly provide long term care that addresses the needs of an aging population. While the answers may not be right in front of us, this organization is going to raise these issues.”