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LTC Bullet: Rep. Hobson Committed to LTC Reform

 

Wednesday April 21, 1999

Seattle--

On March 24, 1999, Congressman David Hobson (R-OH) introduced the Long-Term Care Insurance Act of 1999 (HR 1261). The proposed legislation provides individuals who purchase a qualified LTC insurance policy a phased-in, full tax deduction for premiums. Beginning in 2001, a taxpayer could deduct up to 20 percent of the premiums for the taxpayer, a spouse, and dependents. The deduction would increase to 40 percent in 2002, 60 percent in 2003, 80 percent in 2004, and 100 percent in 2005.

In addition, the legislation requires the Social Security Administration to inform Americans about the financial risks posed by rapidly increasing long-term care costs and that Medicare does not cover most of these costs. The legislation also allows states to establish LTC insurance partnership programs similar to those now being used in California, Connecticut, Indiana, and New York. These programs, different in their specific details, all allow participants to protect a portion of their assets from Medicaid eligibility consideration when their LTC insurance benefits are used up.

Rep. Hobson's bill (HR 1261) is co-sponsored by Reps. John Kasich (R-OH), Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Tom Sawyer (D-OH), James Greenwood (R-PA), and Nancy Johnson (R-CT). The following quote is from Hobson's March 24, 1999 press release:

"This bill encourages seniors to purchase affordable long-term health insurance, and protects a portion of their assets when those policies are exhausted and they need a helping hand from Medicaid. We can provide those benefits in a fiscally responsible way without depleting the savings senior citizens build up over their lifetimes...

"Ever since I served in the Ohio Senate, healthcare has been a top legislative priority for me.... This bill continues my longstanding commitment to providing commonsense healthcare reforms to those who need them."

The Center for Long-Term Care Financing applauds Rep. Hobson and his fellow sponsors for their willingness to confront LTC reform. Full tax deductibility is a positive step that will make LTC insurance more attractive. Public education is also a necessary component of meaningful reform.

Expanding partnership programs nationwide, however, will not persuade great numbers of seniors to purchase LTC insurance as long as almost anyone can get Medicaid-financed care easily without ever having any insurance. (For evidence that Medicaid-financed nursing home care is readily available to middle and upper-middle class seniors, see the Center for Long-Term Care Financing's web page at www.centerltc.com, especially the sections entitled "Pedigree of Poverty Making" and "Research and Publications.")

"Representative Hobson is moving the ball in the right direction, but marginal incentives for purchasing LTC insurance will produce only marginal results," says David Rosenfeld, VP of the Center for Long-Term Care Financing. "Only LTC reform that gets at the root of the problem--nearly unfettered access to public dollars after the insurable event occurs--will produce the dramatic shift in LTC planning behavior that Congress hopes to encourage."

The Center for Long-Term Care Financing welcomes opportunities to work with Rep. Hobson as the legislative process continues.

Sources:

"Hobson Introduces Long-Term Care Legislation," Press Release, March 24, 1999, Contact: Mike Catanzaro, 202-225-4324, mike.catanzaro@mail.house.gov

"Long-Term Care Insurance Act of 1999" (HR 1261) http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:H.R.1261:
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