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LTC Bullet:

Praise for Center's Analysis

Monday August 30, 1999


The February 1999 issue of Consumers' Research magazine published a cover story by Center President Stephen Moses titled "How to Cope With Long-Term Care." The following letter appeared in the magazine's June '99 issue and was recently brought to our attention. Our thanks to the letter's author (Ken Bates) for a thoughtful interpretation of the article. Now, Mr. Bates, if you are out there somewhere, please contact us. We'd like to send you a subscription to LTC Bullets and a complimentary copy of LTC Choice.

Consumers' Research
June, 1999
Consumer Letters: Poor Oversight?

Stephen A. Moses's article outlining the history of the middle class's dependence on Medicaid-financed nursing homes for long-term care...illustrates once again the law of unintended consequences and the truth of the old adage, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

As Moses points out, just when a prosperous private market in affordable long-term care for the elderly was beginning to emerge in the 1960s, the federal government--with every good intention--came along and smothered it at birth with a Medicaid (i.e. taxpayer)-financed long-term care program that provided cheap and easy access to subsidized nursing home care. And now that significant problems have emerged in the wake of the public's predictable flocking to the Medicaid option, the "entitlement paradigm" Moses speaks of prevents any serious steps being taken toward the best solution to the problem-the development of a widespread, low-cost, private long-term care insurance industry.

It also is interesting to note the irony in this situation, that we are to a degree the victims of our own success in medical advancements that keep an ever-growing elderly population living longer, increasing the need for long-term care even while the present system is stretched to the limit. This is a problem that is intractable and will only become more difficult as the elderly population continues to grow. Kudos to Moses for stimulating the debate that may one day yield real solutions.

Ken Bates
New London, Conn.