While the recommendations that the Long Term Care Commission voted Sept. 12 to include in its final report to Congress later this month are “Band-Aids on [the] large and ever-growing problem” of LTC financing, according to one LTC expert, another expert believes the report was “a step in the right direction as it makes very clear that there is a crisis situation facing the country.”
The federal Commission on Long-Term Care completed its work on a package of recommendations that are designed to better ensure LTC coverage is available for the elderly and disabled. The recommendations must be included in the final report the group sends to lawmakers on Sept. 30.
In the area of LTC financing, the commission recommended improvements to Medicare and Medicaid as well as a “sustainable balance of public and private financing for long-term services and supports (LTSS) that enables individuals with functional limitations to remain in the workforce or in appropriate care settings of their choice.”
Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, says that the recommendations “appear to be many small steps,” with the biggest recommendation being the “creation of a new committee to study the issue” of LTC financing. “It is silly to think that an issue as complex as long-term care financing could be resolved, let alone adequately addressed, in such a short time and in such a heated political climate.”
Slome notes that those who were hoping the commission “might recommend a new social program must be disappointed.” The private marketplace, he says, “will continue. Rising interest rates will relieve much of the financial pressure on insurers, and we are confident about the future.”
However, with midterm elections on the horizon followed by a new presidential campaign, Slome says, “it will be interesting to see if there is any traction or support for further action.”
Bruce Chernof, the commission’s chairman, said in releasing the recommendations that while the commission had less than 100 days to craft solutions, he was “pleased” that a majority of the commission agreed on a number of “thoughtful recommendations that serve as a launching pad for future action by Congress and the administration.”