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LTCI Watch: Moneymaker

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Any insurers with a stake in the well-being of the elderly ought to do what they can to buffer dementia research projects from government budget woes.

The UsAgainstAlazheimer’s Network is helping to support another group, ResearchersAgainstAlzheimer’s. Both groups are trying to persuade members of Congress from protecting federal Alzheimer’s research projects, and other dementia research projects, against funding cuts related to all of the problems with the federal budget deficit, sequestration, etc. etc.

My suspicion is that, whenever I get e-mails about admirable grassroots groups founded by, for example, people with loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s, chances are there’s a pharmaceutical company or something like that behind the effort.

In this case: Great! The more the merrier. The bigger the conspiracy to get rid of Alzheimer’s and other causes of dementia, the better.

Of course: If any researchers are squandering the money or doing terrible research, let’s send them on a long sabbatical in North Korea.

But, if they’re doing good, efficient research: What better investment can the country make?

Doing research with pure, clean, mutant mice and giant genetic sequencing machines is expensive and takes time. 

But, clearly, any successful effort to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease would be a blessing for long-term care insurers, disability insurers, health insurers, Medicare, Medicaid, and, obviously, human beings in general. We all have (or have had) parents. Most of us will get old. Many of us are at risk of suffering from dementia, and those folks could be us.

I was flipping old print issues of National Underwriter Life & Health last week and noticed that, really, life and health insurers can’t win. If their prices are high enough to generate a profit, consumer groups and regulators will holler at them for pricing coverage too high. If the companies lose money, the consumer groups and regulators will holler at them for being incompetent stewards of public funds, or something along those lines.

Here’s the conspiracy theory I personally would like to write about 20 years from now: The insurers sold all that high-cost LTCI coverage in the 1990s through the 2010s because they knew all along that the research they were supporting was going to eliminate the scourage of Alzheimer’s by 2025, and that the end of Alzheimer’s would reward them with  high windfall profits.

If you’re going to get hollered at for being part of a conspiracy, anyway, you might as well get hollered at for being part of a successful conspiracy to eliminate Alzheimer’s. 

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