Howard Gleckman writes that, with the demise of the CLASS Act, it is critical to act quickly and develop a consensus plan to address the nation’s long-term care problem.
Since the 1990s, nearly every developed country on the planet has reformed the way it finances long-term care for the frail elderly and adults with disabilities. Among the handful of exceptions: The U.S. and the United Kingdom.
Howard Gleckman wonders how society will provide care to the frail elderly people who rely on the program and account for one-third of its budget.
Congressional critics want to repeal the CLASS act. But without it, millions of disabled adults, frail seniors and their families will be left with only Medicaid’s tattered safety net.
Medicaid, the state-federal health program that also pays for nearly half of all long-term care services for the frail elderly and younger people with disabilities, is in big trouble.
CLASS takes a step towards moving long-term care financing from the welfare-like Medicaid program to an insurance-based system. But CLASS alone won’t get there. Private insurance, currently a niche product that covers only about seven million Americans, will have to play an important role as well.
What if your state helped you turn unused home equity into cash to pay for the care you need when you become old and frail?
It is not clear why it’s happening, but some hospice officials blame both a bad economy and Medicare rules that unintentionally discourage doctors from referring all but those who are about to die.
Nearly three years ago, Harry Rosenberg and his wife, Barbara Filner, met with nine of their neighbors about starting an aging-in-place “village” in Bethesda, Maryland. The idea: If neighbors could help one another with basic services such as transportation and simple home maintenance and with friendly visits, people could stay in their homes longer as they aged.
Families should be freed from the whims of politicians and the inevitable battles over government dollars by passing a national long-term care insurance program, such as the proposed CLASS Act.
There are two important lessons from the European experience with long-term care.
Since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid nearly 45 years ago, the government has separated acute medical care from personal assistance and long-term care, placing many of the most vulnerable people in the nation at risk. An obscure provision of the Senate health bill attempts to crack that barrier.
Critics of the CLASS Act argue that $75-a-day is insufficient. But a new study shows that millions could benefit.
Pay attention to the CLASS Act. It can not only provide better long-term care for those who so desperately need this assistance, it can also become a new way to help those in need in an era of $1 trillion-plus budget deficits. But only if it is done right.
A key question about the CLASS Act remains: How many will buy the coverage even if it is broadly available?
We’ll never keep everyone at home. But if we work at it, we can postpone the transition for months or even years.
We are not ready for healthy retirement, and we are desperately unprepared for the costly medical and long-term care we are likely to need in old age.
In not too many years, long-term care nursing home beds may be as rare as Republicans in Massachusetts.
The real challenge for long-term care reform remains indifference, rather than outright opposition.
In truth, seniors are likely to big winners if responsible health reform passes and prime victims if it fails.