Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota and 2020 presidential candidate, speaks during an interview following the Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg Sen. Amy Klobuchar was one of the contenders Tuesday in a Democratic primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

One of the longshot candidates who participated in the Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday said the country needs to do more about long-term care (LTC) finance.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., jammed discussion of LTC finance into the debate when she was answering a question about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal.

(Related: Just 2 in First Democratic Presidential Debate Back Single-Payer Health Care)

Klobuchar argued that the debate for pure Medicare for All, single-payer health care finance proposals “isn’t real.”

Only about one-third of Democratic senators are supporting Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, and many Democratic governors and Democratic House members oppose the bill, Klobuchar said.

She said an alternative would be to give all people access to a nonprofit public health insurance option.

“And then, finally, what should we do about long-term care?” Klobuchar asked. “That’s the elephant that doesn’t even fit in this room. We need to make it easier for people to get long-term care insurance. We need to make it easier for them to pay their premiums.”

Klobuchar said that her own father is collecting long-term care insurance benefits but is now close to exhausting the benefits.

“Then we have some savings for him,” Klobuchar said. “Then we go to Medicaid. I’ve already talked to Catholic Elder Care. They’re willing to take him.”

Klobuchar said her father’s story is much better than many other families’ stories.

“We have to make it easier for long-term care,” Klobuchar said. “It’s not just for seniors. It’s also for the sandwich generation.”

The Medicare for All Transition

The debate moderators asked Sanders himself a question about what would happen to health insurance sector workers if all private health insurance, including private dental insurance, private vision insurance and most forms of insurance that supplement major medical insurance, went away.

“We built in to our Medicare for All program a transition fund of many, many billions of dollars,” Sanders said.

The transition fund will provide for up to five years income support, health benefits and job training for the affected health insurance sector workers, Sanders said.

— Read An LTC planner’s guide to the presidential candidates, on ThinkAdvisor.

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