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LTCI Watch: Candidates

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Recently, I covered a webcast of an SEIU event in which Hillary Clinton said (surprise surprise) that she supports the right of home care workers to earn a decent wage and great benefits.

She didn’t say how she thinks the country would pay for that, or whether she supports any particular bill or regulatory proposal that would affect the home care workers’ situation. But she used terms like “home care” and “nursing home” multiple times, during the same event.

I felt as if I’d hit the long-term care (LTC) policy journalism jackpot: a presidential candidate, at least making general comments about aging and long-term care.

Thought: Why is it so rare to hear the candidates talk, even vaguely, about topics that affect all of us who have parents or grandparents, and will eventually have some kind of direct or indirect effect on most of us who survive until adulthood?

Why doesn’t one of the organizations running the Republican and Democratic debates devote one whole debate, for each party, to one of the mightiest of the forces shaping our world?

See also: What If We Run Out of LTC Workers?

The candidates occasionally touch on those issues, when they talk about Medicare, Social Security and, occasionally, Medicaid and retirement savings, but they often seem to mix in a little Medicare thinking here, and a little Social Security thinking there, with a giant heap of barfly-level rambling about whether we should send all the illegals home in a canoe or a giant bus, or whether all of the problems on earth are caused by those greedy, evil, out-of-touch plutocrats inside the Beltway or all of those greedy, evil, out-of-touch plutocrats inside the boardrooms of those soulless corporations.

Why not cut out the showboating by getting the candidates to talk about something that clearly matters?

See also: Industry Hopes Life Issue Could Foster Unity

Maybe, for example, candidates who had not thought much about aging, retirement income and long-term care would come up with creative ideas.

Maybe some would stand up and say, calmly but forcefully, that the government has no business doing anything about aging, retirement income or long-term care, and that Americans should handle all of the planning related to those issues themselves, without expecting the government to save them.

But, whatever they said, and however they said it, just the fact that they were treating aging as a topic worthy of primetime debates might lead ordinary people to give the matter more attention. Maybe those are debates that could do a great deal of policy good even if they led to no action in Washington whatsoever.