LTC Bullet: Save the Center

Thursday July 19, 2001

Seattle—

The Center for Long-Term Care Financing's annual fundraising campaign for 2002 is about to begin. Unless we can retain existing financial support and add substantial new support, the Center will not be able to fight for you in the future. Imagine!--no more LTC Bullets, no more speeches and reports on the website, no more advocacy for rational long-term care policy, no more Center-generated highly favorable earned media, no legislative testimony, no speeches to collateral professional groups. No more www.centerltc.org. No more Center.

(That popping sound you hear in the background is champagne corks launching in thousands of Medicaid estate planning offices throughout the country. With the Center for Long-Term Care Financing gone, nothing would stand in the way of aggressive Medicaid planning. Artificial impoverishment to qualify for public assistance would then compete unimpeded with private savings, investment, and insurance for the prime role in long-term care financing.)

The Center has not been able to confirm sufficient, ongoing financial support from major corporate donors, smaller organizations and individual contributors to avoid our annual battle for survival. We're often asked: why is funding a problem for the Center? Don't you advocate private LTC financing, especially insurance? Won't the insurance carriers and LTC providers (especially assisted living and nursing homes) support you? Here's the answer:

The Center for Long-Term Care Financing is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. We must receive our financial support from a broad base of donors which can include the public at large, corporations, foundations, and other organizations that support the Center's mission. Our mission is to ensure quality long-term care for all Americans. We pursue this mission by (1) encouraging everyone who can to plan early and insure fully for the risk of long term care and by (2) discouraging excessive reliance on and abuse of public LTC financing sources like Medicaid and Medicare. In other words, we are trying to save public financing for the poor by promoting private financing for the prosperous.

We believe that enlisting the help of the private, for-profit sector of the economy (LTC insurers and providers) to solve a daunting fiscal problem for the public, not-for-profit sector of the economy is a sensible and worthy enterprise. So what's the problem?

FIRST, to build support as rapidly as possible for private financing as a critical component to solving the government's LTC financing shortfalls, we need to offer the Center's services (LTC Bullets, studies/reports, media interviews, legislative testimony, etc.) free of charge, especially to new audiences and to adversaries we seek to convert into supporters. That's how we build a network of understanding and common advocacy. But free services always suffer from the "tragedy of the commons"--no one has an incentive to support benefits they can get whether they pay or not. Please help us by paying for Center services you value with a generous tax-deductible contribution. Stretch to pay your share AND a portion of what the "free riders" are not contributing.

SECOND, sometimes private financing players just don't get it. Some of them won't support the Center because they think our message is too critical toward Medicaid planners and organizations that advocate heavier dependency on government financing of long-term care. They want to get along by going along. Others say we inhibit the sale of private insurance, for example, by disclosing the facts about Medicaid planning and excessive dependency on government financing. They want to evade the reality and mislead the public about the status quo. Bottom line, the definition of insanity is continuing to do what you've always done and expecting a different result. We march proudly to a different beat. Help us confront the deficient status quo and change it! Please urge LTC insurance carriers and other private market players to support the Center for Long-Term Care Financing.

THIRD, the long-term care provider community should be a major supporter of the Center for Long-Term Care Financing but is not yet. In the past year, the Center has reached out to LTC providers by exhibiting at their conferences, by publishing in their trade journals, by meeting with their trade association directors, by conducting our LTC Triathlon project, and by adding as many providers as possible to the ranks of LTC Bullets subscribers. Unfortunately, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are struggling right now for financial survival. The Center's proposals may only seem like long-term solutions to them. Nevertheless, we ask providers to support the Center now. We will continue to identify and encourage opportunities for providers and insurers to work together toward their immediate, mutual benefit by cooperating to protect future generations from the cost of long-term care. Such a cooperative approach by private sector stakeholders is the only way to save Medicaid for the poor.

Throughout the rest of this year, in a series of LTC Bullets, we will suggest ways each of you can support the Center for Long-Term Care Financing as individuals and as representatives of your organizations. We're putting the Center up for a vote. You can vote "no" by doing nothing. You can vote in favor with a donation online at www.centerltc.org, billed to your bank account or credit card. You can vote positively with a pledge of future support. You can vote yes with a message of urgency to your employer or affiliated organization encouraging them to support the Center. You can show your support by sponsoring a Center speaker or special event. We'll offer details on these and other suggestions in the weeks and months ahead, but the outcome is now up to you.

Save the Center!