KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Long Term Care Forms Part Of Health Plan

Long-term care plays a role in the Senate HELP committee health plan released Tuesday by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. The Associated Press reports that "Americans would be able to buy long-term care insurance from the government for $65 a month under a provision tucked into sweeping health care legislation that senators will begin considering next week."

The AP notes: "Kennedy's long-term care plan is designed to help disabled people pay for support services that would allow them to remain in their own homes and avoid moving into nursing homes. People would enroll in the program during their working years and begin paying premiums. To collect benefits, a person would have had to pay premiums for at least five years. The benefit would be modest - not less than $50 a day - but it could be used to cover a wide range of services. Prospects for the long-term care provision are uncertain, but Kennedy's advocacy may sway other lawmakers. For Kennedy, who is being treated for brain cancer, health care legislation would be the crowning achievement of a long and productive career" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/10).

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Sun reports that Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., stressed "the importance of talking honestly about the high cost of end-of-life care" during a Tuesday meeting with President Obama at the White House. She was "among Democrats from the House Ways and Means Committee invited to discuss health care as Congress begins to legislate President Barack Obama's top priority this year. When it came her turn to speak, Berkley was not shy. 'I said, Mr. President, the way we deliver health care in this county is bass akwards,' Berkley recounted. 'We spend a large portion on end-of-life care. We don't invest enough on early detection and prevention of disease'" (Mascaro, 6/9).

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