Bullet: National LTC
Consciousness Campaign Begins in Iowa
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
LTC Comment: The
2008 election may be our last chance to save LTC financing before it's
too late. We're taking a
message of reason and reform to the political frontlines in Iowa. Details after the ***news.***
ASA-NCOA CONFERENCE. I'm
in Chicago today to cover the combined national conference of the
American Society on Aging and the National Council on the Aging.
Query: what are the
"senior advocates" saying about long-term care financing these
days? Center members can expect "LTC Embed" reports from
this front in the LTC public policy battle tomorrow and Friday. ***
TAX INCENTIVES UPDATED: 2006
state-by-state information on tax credits or deductions offered to
individuals who purchase long-term care insurance is available here.
Center for Long-Term Care Reform members can also find this link
for future reference in The Zone at http://www.centerltc.com/members/ltci_tax_treatments.htm.
MEDICARE PART B PREMIUMS - which cover doctors' visits, tests,
and outpatient hospital care - are forecast to increase by $15.90 in
2008, the largest amount in the history of the program, according to a
new analysis by TREA Senior Citizens League. That would represent a 17
percent increase, from the current $93.50 per month to $109.40 per
month. A married couple could be faced with close to $400 in new
premiums next year, in addition to the increasing cost of their
prescription drug program, covered under Medicare Part D.
For the first time in 2007, the Medicare Part B premium is higher
for higher-income beneficiaries. Center
members can find all the details in The Zone at http://www.centerltc.com/members/medicaid_and_medicare_key_numbers.htm.
Go to footnote 1 and follow the link to a CMS publication on the
LTC BULLET: NATIONAL
LTC CONSCIOUSNESS CAMPAIGN BEGINS IN IOWA
LTC Comment: Long-term
care has a "long tail." Insurers must set aside reserves that accrue investment
returns for many years to have any hope of paying claims some day.
Private insurers understand that.
Public "insurers," such as Medicaid and Medicare,
evidently have no clue. Their
unfunded liabilities are staggering already and getting worse every day.
Therefore, if Medicaid and Medicare don't get themselves onto an
actuarially sound basis soon, any hope they have to survive as
significant payers in the future, even for the poor, will be dashed.
Don't hold your breath.
In the meantime, those same public programs that
finance long-term care crowd out any significant demand for private-pay
alternatives, such as reverse mortgages and LTC insurance, that could
otherwise help save the day. Easy
access to publicly financed LTC has anesthetized the public to long-term
care risk and cost. Unfortunately,
most players in the insurance, reverse mortgage, and LTC provider
industries, are too timid politically to do anything about it (a handful
of far-sighted companies that support the Center for Long-Term Care
Reform, to the contrary notwithstanding.)
So, if anything is going to be done in time, we
have to do it ourselves. We're
going to start where we can get the biggest bang for the buck--Iowa. As we explained in two earlier LTC Bullets ("LTC
and "LTC Gadflies in Iowa," http://www.centerltc.com/bullets/archives2007/675.htm),
this year's bumper crop of presidential candidates is relatively easy to
reach right now as they barnstorm Iowa to seek attention for their
putting together a team of "LTC Gadflies" in Iowa to write
letters to the editor, attend candidate forums, and generally push LTC
public policy onto the political front burner in any way we can.
I'll help by writing draft letters to the editor, publishing
op-ed articles, meeting with reporters and editorial boards, and
button-holing candidates and their staff.
going to demand that any candidate who wants to be taken seriously
answer the tough personal and policy questions about long-term care.
How do you plan to pay for your own long-term care
someday? Do you have
private LTC insurance? Are
you willing to use your home equity to pay for LTC if necessary?
What is your position on public LTC funding, especially Medicaid?
How will America fund Medicare and Medicaid as the baby-boom
ages? Is it all right for
people to impoverish themselves artificially to get public assistance to
pay for LTC costs (Medicaid planning)?
Have you or anyone in your family ever used Medicaid planning to
qualify for Medicaid? Did
you pay back Medicaid from the estate as required by law or avoid that
responsibility too? What
needs to be done to ensure access for all Americans to quality long-term
care in the future?
If the candidates and their staff dodge these
questions, we'll ask them through the media.
Maybe we'll challenge them to take an "LTC Pledge,"
such as "I promise to take responsibility for my family's long-term
care. I will purchase
insurance or spend my savings and use my home equity to pay if
necessary. I will never hire a Medicaid planner to impoverish myself or
my family artificially in order to evade personal responsibility for the
high risk and cost of long-term care."
Whatever we do will be decided by Iowans who care
about this issue and who have been invited to attend our first
organizational meeting on April 2, 2007 in Johnston, IA, a suburb of Des
Moines. This project will
be "of, by and for" Iowans so we're not inviting people from
out of state. My role will
be advisory only. But this
does not mean you cannot be a part of this campaign if you believe in
what we are trying to do.
To help support the National LTC Consciousness Tour
and its initial foray into Iowa, we appeal to you for a special targeted
contribution to the Center for Long-Term Care Reform.
Give $100 or more toward this project and we'll publish your
name, credentials, and business affiliation on the Center for Long-Term
Care Reform's website. You'll
be listed as a "CLTCR National LTC Consciousness Tour Guide."
Or, remain anonymous if you'd prefer.
Just let us know.
You can contribute by credit card online at http://www.centerltc.com/support/index.htm
or simply send a check to the Center for Long-Term Care Reform, 2212
Queen Anne Avenue North, #110, Seattle, Washington, 98109. Indicate "LTC Tour" on your contribution and tell
us if you'd like to be recognized at www.centerltc.com.
The Center for Long-Term Care Reform is going to
take this first step in our "National LTC Consciousness Tour" pro
bono, whether anyone contributes or not.
How much more we can do in the future, in Iowa and throughout the
country, will depend on your generosity.
If support is adequate, we'll branch out from Iowa
later in the year and take this campaign into every nook and cranny of
Help us make it happen!