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LTCI Watch: Hillary

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Last week, I wrote a news article about Hillary Clinton “latching on” to the family caregiver support issue, and proposing a package of ideas for helping caregivers.

She suggested creating a tax credit that could help families pay up to $1,200 in caregiving costs; figuring out how to keep caregiving responsibilities from reducing family caregivers’ Social Security benefits; and finding a way to help family caregivers get respite breaks.

One reader noted my use of the term “latching on” and suggested that I “don’t approve of Hillary.”

The changes in the world that have me writing news and opinion blogs at the same time can be unsettling.

My approach is to try to be as non-partisan as I can be, partly because I love readers from all parties; partly because I genuinely believe that, when it comes to health-related issues, everyone is usually right; and partly because it just seems extremely boring for news reporters to have an obvious point of view on the major controversies of the day.

Why the heck read a news article by a reporter who, for example, has an obvious, party-line point of view about whether some government program should pay, or not pay, for long-term care (LTC) services for all? Swing voters are just plain more interesting.

But I do try to acknowledge major non-partisan biases, when I have them, and one of my biases is this: It seems as if, however we support family caregivers and other unpaid caregivers, supporting them in some way is a nice, important thing to do.

People who think the government should avoid taking responsibility for private social support could still back the idea of the government educating people about their responsibilities, and, maybe, recognizing who have found interesting, creative ways to meet those responsibilities.

People who think the government should pay for every possible social service could still back the idea of informal caregivers filling in gaps that no government program can ever possibly fill. The most luxurious imaginable assisted living holodeck in a 24th century Star Trek universe will still not be quite as nice as a visit from a flesh-and-blood grandchild.

But my bias here, as someone on track to be 65 in 2030, and 85 in 2050, isn’t against Hillary Clinton.

It was great to see a presidential candidate say anything about issues related to long-term care.

See also: LTCI Watch: Where’s the woof?

My bias, instead, is more toward the fear that talking about informal caregivers might be a way for us, as a society, to avoid thinking about the reality that we have no idea how we’ll pay for the formal care that we’ll also need.

Somehow, society will probably figure something out. Japan, for example, already has a much older population than ours, and it’s muddling through. But we might muddle better if we think harder now about the scarier aspects of LTC finance, not just about the cheaper, more politically feasible aspects.

See also: LTCI Watch: Remember the Bus


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