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LTC Bullet: Good Ink

Friday January 22, 1999


This week, Jane Bryant Quinn's syndicated column ("Tax Credit Not the Best Option for Caregivers") tackled the new Clinton LTC proposal. She begins "It sounded like a great idea…," but concludes "A tax credit won't help the poor…" and "there's a big risk of fraud." Furthermore: "Long-term care insurance normally triggers benefits after only two impairments. So the tax credit [which requires three ADLs] is only for the severest cases." JBQ closes the piece with "Starting a $5.5 billion program suggests that the government will eventually pay more, says Stephen Moses, head of the Center for Long-Term Care Financing in Seattle. That lessens people's incentive to plan for themselves…Highlighting caregiving is 'a good message but bad public policy,' Moses says. 'People should be told that they need to save their money or else buy long-term care insurance.' Unless people use their own resources, the needs of the elderly eventually will crowd out everything else."

The current issue of Best's Review (January 1999), the insurance industry trade magazine, contains pictures and blurbs on 33 "People to Watch in the Coming Year" who are "likely to affect the course of the industry." The list includes billionaire investor Warren Buffet, California Governor Gray Davis, Senators William Frist and Phil Gramm, and the presidents of MetLife, John Hancock, Swiss Re, Conseco, Unum, HIAA, and the Center for Long-Term Care Financing. Pretty nice company for your favorite think-tank! The blurb on Center President Steve Moses says "This crusader for sanity in long-term care continues to turn up the heat on elder-law attorneys and financial planners who help affluent people manipulate their assets so they can qualify for Medicaid. If policymakers heed his message, long-term care insurers will have a lot easier time selling their product."

Steve Moses' op-ed article entitled "LTC Insurance Could Play Role in Solving Medicaid Woes" is published in the current [January 11, 1999] issue of National Underwriter. We have asked the magazine for permission to publish a longer, original version of this piece, entitled "Scary Numbers," as an LTC Bullet. Watch for it. Obviously, the Center for Long-Term Care Financing has been getting a lot of "good ink" lately, which means our message is getting out: the only way to save public financing of long-term care for the needy is to encourage private insurance for everyone else.