LTC Bullet--Where the LTC Action Is

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Washington, DC--

LTC Comment: Don't just stand there, do something! Everyone curses the darkness of America's long-term care financing crisis. But, finally, a couple guys out in the hinterland (Washington State) have decided to light a candle. This is our second Bullet on the "LTC Revolution" advocated by the Coalition for Long-Term Care Financing Reform and we'll keep you informed of future developments. Read about it after the ***news***.

*** This Bullet is sponsored by LTCi Decision Systems, creators of the "LTC Economic Impact Planning Model" (TM) which "helps advisors and clients project family estate erosion using client specific LTC planning scenarios with and without insurance." For more information, contact Ralph Leisle ( mailto:rleisle@ltcia.com or toll-free at 1-800-360-9853 ) or visit LTCi Decision Systems online at http://www.ltcia.com/ . Thanks so much to LTCi Decision Systems for its generous support of the Center. Won't you help too? Go to http://www.centerltc.org/support/sponsor_bullets.htm to sponsor an LTC Bullet. Find out how you can sponsor other Center activities (e.g., articles, speeches, conference exhibits) by contacting Amy Marohn at 425-377-9500 or mailto:amy@centerltc.org . ***

*** Tidbit: Maybe it's time for California to consider the Center's "simple, cost-free" LTC Choice proposal instead of draconian cuts to Medi-Cal (aka Medicaid outside CA): "State officials are proposing deep reductions in education, health services and other programs to deal with a budget shortfall that could total $25 billion in the next 18 months. 'That's a hole so deep and so vast that even if we fired every single person on the state payroll - every park ranger, every college professor and every Highway Patrol officer - we would still be more than $6 billion short,' said the Assembly speaker, Herb J. Wesson Jr., a Democrat. . . . As many as 200,000 people could lose their health coverage under the state Medi-Cal program. . . . Only five states - Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada - are in worse fiscal shape than California as measured by deficits as a percentage of the budget. In dollar terms, no other state comes close. . . . 'You can raise the alcohol tax, the tobacco tax, the car tax, the income tax and sales tax and you still have a multibillion-dollar deficit,' said Mr. Brulte, who represents Rancho Cucamonga and other bedroom communities east of Los Angeles." (John M. Broder, "California is at Fiscal Brink," New York Times, December 9, 2002, http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/09/national/09CALI.html?pagewanted=print&position=top )

*** New content added today to the donor-only zone includes "The LTC Week in Review for December 9-13, 2002: LTC E-Alerts #281-#285." Every LTC E-Alert contains some news or information that will help people understand the need to prepare early for the risk and cost of long-term care. If you already qualify for The Zone, you can click the following link, enter your user name and password, and go directly to the latest E-Alerts: http://www.centerltc.com/members/ltc_week_in_review.htm .

LTC E-Alert #281--Introducing "Geezer.com" as Sponsored by the U.S. Government
LTC E-Alert #282--What About the Rate Stability of the U.S. Government?
LTC E-Alert #283--Secrets of Long Life are Think Positively, Help Others and Use Both Sides of Your Brain
LTC E-Alert #284--Will There be Enough Caregivers?
LTC E-Alert #285--CMS Administrator Scolds LTC Financiers, Urges More LTCI

To Zone In, mail your tax-deductible contribution of $100 or more to the Center for Long-Term Care Financing, 2212 Queen Anne Avenue North, #110, Seattle, WA 98109. Then email mailto:damon@centerltc.org your preferred password and user name (up to 10 characters each). You can also contribute online by credit card or direct withdrawal at http://www.centerltc.com/support/index.htm . ***

LTC BULLET--WHERE THE LTC ACTION IS

Following is a press release from the Coalition for Long-Term Care Financing Reform in Olympia, Washington.

Reform Campaign Launched in Washington State

Reforming the long-term care financing system to significantly reduce dependence on Medicaid funding is the objective of a coalition that is forming to lead a "revolution" in the way long-term care is paid for.

The Coalition for Long-Term Care Financing Reform is launching a campaign that targets Washington state for the first specific legislative battle to restructure its system along the lines advocated by the Center for Long Term Care Financing in its "LTC Choice" proposal. The proposal can be seen at http://www.centerltc.com/ .

In a recent article, coalition leader Jerry Reilly (a former Medicaid Director in both New Jersey and Washington) wrote, "The government can no longer pay adequate reimbursement rates. Providers can no longer meet regulatory or consumer expectations. Access to services and the quality of care are increasingly jeopardized. Our publicly-financed long-term care system is faltering, but few Americans have prepared by saving or insuring to pay privately for their own long-term care needs."

The coalition advocates instead for an LTC system in which one-third of recipients -- the truly poor -- are supported by Medicaid . . . one-third are paying their own way with personal assets or through guaranteed loans secured by their estates . . . and one-third are supported by insurance payments from policies that they had the foresight and incentive to purchase.

Washington state faces an especially bleak challenge in building its two-year state budget, which is $2 billion out of balance. This may translate into a willingness to look at ways to restructure long-term care financing to focus Medicaid on the truly poor, reduce pressure on the state budget, and transition to a market-based long-term care financing approach that expands consumer choice and improves quality of service.

Update: The Coalition for Long-Term Care Financing Reform has begun to hold discussions with key legislators and is finding considerable interest in the LTC Choice proposal from across the long-term care spectrum. The Coalition actively solicits coalition members and supporters.

If you are interested in learning more about this proposal or in learning how you can support this effort go to the Pacific Northwest Advocates Website . . . http://www.pacificnorthwestadvocates.com/ (see the lower right hand corner of this home page) . . . or e-mail Jerry Reilly at mailto:jerryreilly@msn.com .