Long-Term Care CLASS Act Is Likely Victim of Controversy and Indifference

“Momentum for health reform may be building again, but interest in improving our system of long-term care supports and services is still lagging,” writes long-term care advocate Howard Gleckman in his newest blog post. Gleckman notes that while the CLASS Act, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s long-term care bill, has undergone changes this summer and received President Obama’s endorsement, the legislation could very likely fall victim to the controversy surrounding a public option for health insurance.

But the real reason LTC reform won’t happen is indifference, not opposition Gleckman says. “Overwhelmed by the passionate, high-stakes debate over health reform, many lawmakers remain reluctant to even confront long-term care issues. They are making a major mistake by failing to recognize that the chronically ill need a full range of care that does not end at hospital discharge or when they leave their physician’s office. An elderly widow suffering from Parkinson’s or a young man struggling with multiple sclerosis doesn’t distinguish between personal care and medical treatment. For them, it is all essential care. Congress needs to recognize this, but, at least for now, the odds that it will do so in 2009 remain long.”

So for right now, the best option is still private LTC insurance, or, in some cases, employer-provided LTC insurance coverage, which could be your only safety net if you long term care becomes essential due to age or infirmity. (090914)

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