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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ideas of Federal Panel on Long-Term Care Don’t Cover Costs

Today's post was shared by The New Old Age and comes from newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com

The federal Commission on Long-Term Care on Friday issued more than two dozen recommendations meant to bolster services for older Americans and people with disabilities, but stopped short of endorsing a new public or private program to help families pay for home health care, custodial care, assisted living or nursing home services.

“We’re disappointed,” said James Firman, president of the National Council on Aging. “They kind of ducked the most important issue.”

The commission was established by Congress last January after the demise of the Class Act, a voluntary long-term care insurance program originally part of the Affordable Care Act. It was given limited resources, an ambitious agenda and a very tight timetable: the first meeting was held in June, three months before the deadline for issuing a report.

Many experts judged it a “semi-serious, halfhearted effort on behalf of the Congress,” Mr. Firman said.

Yet how to pay for the rising costs of long-term care is a pressing problem. Public programs and families spent $317 billion on long-term care services — nursing homes, home health aides and so forth — in 2011, according to the Congressional Research Service. AARP estimates the yearly value of unpaid care provided by 42 million caregivers at $450 billion.

More than 12 million Americans rely on long-term care services, and the number is expected to expand sharply as baby boomers age. Only impoverished older Americans and...

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