Bonnie Burns and Stephen Moses have different ideas about how the United States should prepare for the aging of the population, but they agree on the meaning of the election results: Voters want the programs now in place more or less the same.
Burns, a consultant at California Health Advocates and someone who helps speak for consumers’ interests in National Association of Insurance Commissioners proceedings, said she feels relieved.
“It looks like some of the more drastic changes to Medicare won’t be taking place,” Burns said today in an interview.
Moses, president of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform, said the results of the election seem to reduce the likelihood that Congress will change the U.S. acute health care or long-term care (LTC) finance systems for the better.
The voters “spoke loud and clear,” Moses said. “You saw a vote for the continuation of the status quo.”
Moses is supports changing federal laws, programs and tax rules in ways that would increase the sale of private long-term care insurance (LTCI).
Burns thinks private LTCI coverage might be part of the LTC finance solution for relatively healthy, affluent people who can afford to buy private LTCI coverage and can meet the insurers’ underwriting requirements, but she argues that the country has to scrape up the resources that will be needed to meet the needs of a growing population of frail and disabled elderly people whether the country can find those resources.
Even if a federal government could provide the modest $50-per-day benefit once promised by the ill-fated Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, that could be enough to provide resources that could keep many older people in their homes and sharply reduce the need for costly institutional care, Burns said.
Both Moses and Burns had a hard time coming with ideas about LTC or elder care that might have enough bipartisan support to get through both the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate.
“There’ll be nothing be passed that benefits the private long-term care insurance industry,” Moses. “No, not a prayer.”