It’s easy (especially after watching several hours of blurry streaming Web video) to be skeptical about the value of “public involvement” in bodies like the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care.
Congress created the Federal LTC Commission as a kind of legislative consolation prize to start with, to give lawmakers with a lot of seniors in their communities something to say to voters angry about the demise of Ted Kennedy’s CLASS Act voluntery LTC benefits program.
The CLASS Act program might have died pretty quickly, but at least, supporters say, it might have done some good for some people for a few years, before a death spiral spirited all the cash away.
The Federal LTC Commission is supposed to try, if it can, to come up with bipartisan recommendations in September. There is no guarantee that the commission will come up with recommendations, that the recommendations will be any good, or that, if there are good recommendations, members of Congress will do anything other than recommendations but use them to create YouTube videos in which they explain how much they care about the needs of the elderly, and about how they have had to use their own aides to oversee the care of their own aged parents.
When members of the public, or even commissions representing diverse interests, speak at a commission meeting, it’s easy to assume that the results will either be dull or impractical, or both dull and impractical.
But, last week, it seemed as if commission members were saying something important that people in the commercial long-term care insurance (LTCI) community ought to think about it: That it’s really important that our country celebrate caregiving, make caregiving seem like something unavoidable, and, to whatever extent it’s possible, make caregiving seem cool, and not like something to be avoided.
Those kinds of comments seemed to startle a great marketing guy from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and, of course, one of the main reason that moderately high income people buy LTCI is to avoid having to worry abuot “burdening their children” with unwanted, expensive caregiving duties.