NU Online News Service, Oct. 24, 2003, 5:24 p.m. EDT – Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., one of the candidates for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, introduced a “Living with Dignity” long term care initiative Thursday during campaign stops in Iowa.

“Edwards will finance innovative state-level reforms such as tax credits for long term care, asset and income protection programs that prevent families from spending down their incomes, or experiments with long term care insurance,” according to a statement issued by Edwards’ campaign office.

Edwards’ long term care platform also calls for the federal government to support family caregivers by doubling the resources available to pay for respite care; to step up enforcement against nursing homes and home health chains that fail to provide good care; and to move to increase wages and improve working conditions for nursing home aides and home care workers.

Edwards proposes spending an extra $3.5 billion to finance the improvements in the U.S. long term care system.