LTC Bullet: WSJ Says Don't Count on Government for LTC
September 7, 2005
Comment: Today's Wall Street
Journal warns that government is likely to cut Medicaid LTC benefits and
encourage private LTC insurance. What
a good set-up for today's webcast debate on "Who Should Pay for Long-Term
Care." More after the
LTC DEBATE. By the time you receive
this LTC Bullet, the Cato-sponsored debate between Center for Long-Term Care
Reform president Steve Moses and New York elder law attorney Vincent Russo will
be over. But you can watch the
debate in the Cato Institute's archives later.
Just go to http://www.cato.org/realaudio/audiopages.html,
search for "Medicaid and the Long-Term Care Crisis--Who Should Pay,"
and click on the link to the program. You'll
need a free downloadable video or audio player to watch and/or listen to this
QUOTES. Following are sample quotes
from each of the participants in today's debate:
"If an individual requires long term care and has
significant assets to protect, then a combination of outright transfers directly
to family members and assets being placed in an Irrevocable Living Trust may
Vincent Russo in a presentation titled "Irrevocable Trusts for Asset
Protection" at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys' 10th
Anniversary Advanced Elder Law Institute in Washington, D.C. from November 20 to
"Medicaid cannot survive as a long-term care safety
net for the poor as long as it continues to be free inheritance insurance for
the baby boom generation. Medicaid
planning has to stop if responsible long-term care planning is to have a
Moses, president, Center for Long-Term Care Reform, Inc. ***
BULLET: WSJ SAYS DON'T COUNT
ON GOVERNMENT FOR LTC
Comment: Today's Wall Street
Journal contains an excellent article by Kelly Greene (filling in for
Jonathan Clements's "Getting Going" column).
Titled "Be Prepared: Government Funding for Nursing-Home Care May Be
Cut," the piece warns that Congress will likely make Medicaid LTC benefits
harder and LTC insurance more important to get.
Pick up a copy of the Journal or read the article electronically
if you have a subscription to the WSJ Online:
article's message is critical for the public to receive.
Medicaid's ability to provide a long-term care safety net for most
Americans has come to an end. The
program is already reeling fiscally long before the Age Wave will place the
heaviest financial pressure on it. Something
has to be done to wake Americans up to the risk of long-term care and persuade
them to save, invest or insure to meet that risk.
Articles in the national media like this one help immensely to wake the
public up to the biggest LTC risk, i.e. that the government-financed safety net
will soon collapse altogether.
are some excerpts from Kelly Greene, "Be Prepared:
Government Funding for Nursing-Home Care May Be Cut," Wall Street
Journal, Page D1, September 7, 2005.
lengthy stay in a nursing home, especially for those relying on help from
Medicaid, could become even more expensive under rules proposed to save the
government health program money.
a joint federal and state program for the needy, pays almost half of the
country's long-term-care bills. But
the Bush administration's budget plan, now being addressed by Congress, proposes
cutting the Medicaid budget, which is $329 billion this year, by at least $10
billion over five years.
commission convened in May by the Department of Health and Human Services, which
oversees Medicaid, last week came up with specific proposals for tightening
Medicaid's use for long-term care. The
same proposals were made in President Bush's budget plan and in recommendations
by the National Governors Association.
a political earthquake going on now with Medicaid and long-term care,' says
Stephen Moses, president of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform Inc. in
Seattle. 'In the future, Medicaid
will no longer be a resource for middle- and upper-class people.'
of the proposed cuts could come from tightening loopholes that let some older
people qualify for aid by sheltering their assets. . . .
proposed change could make it even tougher for older parents to leave their
assets intact for their boomer children, while at the same time getting
government help with long-term-care costs. . . .
is also considering measures aimed at softening the blow.
Separate bills being considered in the Senate and House propose expanding
nationwide the so-called Partnership for Long-Term Care, a public-private
long-term-care insurance program that's currently available in four states:
California, Connecticut, Indiana and New York.
the partnership program, a person buys a private long-term-care policy that has
been approved by state officials. If
the person later enters long-term care and exhausts the private policy's
coverage, he can still apply for Medicaid to help cover any additional costs. .
the states with these programs, the long-term-care insurance market grew 23%
faster from 1993 (when the programs were started) to 2001 than in states without
them, says Mark Meiners, a health policy professor at George Mason University in
Fairfax, Va., who helped develop the partnership program.
So far, of the 180,000 policies purchased since 1992, only 89 have been
exhausted, a recent study found. . . .
"There's no assurance that Congress will agree in the current session on the details of Medicaid cuts, or to expand the long-term-care-insurance program. Even so, the intensifying focus on Medicaid's costs should be a red flag to anyone counting on government aid for long-term care."