LTC Bullet:

LTC Rising in Congress

Friday March 3, 2000

Seattle--

Center for LTC Financing President Stephen Moses addressed an audience of House staffers in Washington, DC on February 25th regarding the long-term care financing crisis. Rep. Nancy Johnson's office (Republican of Connecticut) sponsored the briefing.

Moses shared the podium with Mark Meiners of the University of Maryland--the father of the LTC Partnership Program--and Marc Cohen of LifePlans and Brandeis University--a leading LTC scholar.

Meiners summarized the concept, mission, and progress of the LTC Partnerships. The Partnerships were originally sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and have taken root as a politically popular approach to encouraging private LTC insurance by relaxing the burden of Medicaid spend-down.

Next, Cohen summarized his research on the potential fiscal impact of above-the-line tax deductibility for LTC insurance. He and his team conclude that any tax expenditures accruing to the proposed deduction will be fully recovered by the government through savings in the Medicaid program.

Finally, Moses wrapped up the program by talking about why and how America's long-term care service delivery and financing system has deteriorated into such a dysfunctional, virtually bankrupt disappointment. He explained the Center for LTC Financing's public policy proposal to correct these problems--"LTC Choice."

Congresswoman Nancy Johnson's long-term care briefing for Congressional staff is evidence that our issue is finally getting more attention in Congress. But that is not the only evidence. While in DC, Steve Moses met one-on-one with several other Hill staffers. He reports that interest in long-term care financing in general and "LTC Choice" in particular is mounting.

Perhaps the best and hardest evidence of progress, however, is that influential figures in the power structure are actually buying private LTC insurance for themselves and their spouses. Examples include a high-level official at the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a Health Policy Council to a well-tenured Senator, and a key staffer of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Sometimes, when the progress seems so slow and achievement of the goal remains yet so far away, it helps to consider the mounting success of our mission reflected in small victories like these. This is how universal access to top-quality long-term care at the most appropriate level will be achieved in America--one policy at a time. One private LTC insurance policy at a time. And one public policy or law at a time. Keep the faith!

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