LTC Bullet: Who Ya Gonna Call?
October 31, 2007
Comment: Happy Halloween!
If you’re uninsured and need LTC in the future, you may as well
call Ghostbusters as Medicaid. Details
after the ***news.***
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LTC TOUR UPDATE. I’m
calling all Center members in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi,
South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.
We’re enlisting Regional Representatives to work with me as I
come through their territories on the Center’s 2008 “LTC Tour.”
In just our first few days of planning and scheduling, we’ve
nailed down seven events and received pledges of support and partnership
from 21 people and organizations. Don’t
wait for me to call you. Every
event I schedule locks up my itinerary and reduces the days and places
available for new events. If
you’d like to be part of the LTC Tour and work with me next year in
your area, call now from anywhere in the U.S.
We’ll schedule your event or activity.
Then everyone else will have to work around your pre-committed
time. We’ll work out the
details as the dates approach. Call
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BULLET: WHO YA GONNA CALL?
unfunded entitlement liabilities are a frequent theme in these LTC
Bullets. Is the connection
between Social Security’s and Medicare’s $91 trillion fiscal hole
and long-term care financing clear?
Let me elaborate on that before we discuss today’s gloomy news.
is the predominant payor of LTC in the U.S., not just for the poor, but
for the middle class and even many of the legally-savvy affluent.
Medicaid doesn’t stand alone. People
on Medicaid have to contribute their income to offset Medicaid’s cost
of care. For the elderly
getting LTC paid by Medicaid, most of their income derives from Social
Security. So when Social
Security cuts benefits by nearly a quarter, as the Social Security
Administration warns us every year they’ll have to do someday absent a
miraculous fiscal fix, Medicaid LTC financing will bear the brunt.
Strike one for Medicaid LTC.
that’s nothing compared to the damage a default by Medicare will
cause. Medicare pays 16
percent of the cost of nursing home care in the U.S. and pays very
Medicare’s $75 trillion unfunded liability will sink the program in
the future. Even if it
survives as a means-tested welfare program, Medicare won’t be able to
pay nursing homes and home health agencies as generously in the future
as it has in the past. When
Medicare reneges, the extra LTC financing burden will on Medicaid which
is unsustainable now and totally hopeless in the event.
Strike two for Medicaid LTC.
three for Medicaid LTC is that even before the foregoing calamities
occur, Medicaid already underfunds long-term care disastrously.
Here’s the story, followed by our comment:
New Medicaid Study:
Underfunding of Seniors' Long Term Care Undermines Medicare
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new
independent analysis of the nation's Medicaid program by the accounting
firms BDO Seidman/Eljay, LLC estimates states are underfunding the
actual cost of providing seniors' critical nursing home care by at least
$4.4 billion annually, or, $13.15 per patient day -- representing a
dramatic 45% increase from 1999 through 2007. The new study also found
that the states with the greatest disparity between the actual cost of
providing quality care and Medicaid reimbursements are, in order of
severity, Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, New
Hampshire, Missouri, Delaware, Washington and Massachusetts.
In releasing the new report at a Capitol Hill
briefing on pending FY 2008 health and budget issues, David Hebert of
the American Health Care Association said it is essential for
policymakers, key legislative staff and all long term care stakeholders
to understand the growing inter-dependence between Medicaid and Medicare
- and how according to the study's findings, the long term care sector
operates at a 2.5% negative margin when factoring both Medicare and
Medicaid funding into the overall long term care financing equation.
"As federal and state lawmakers consider cuts or freezes in either
Medicare or Medicaid the significance of the overall negative operating
margin cannot be discounted," the AHCA President and CEO said.
"These findings are further evidence that policymakers and the
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission should take into account the
symbiotic nature of Medicaid and Medicare financing as key healthcare
funding decisions are made."
"The federal government has a moral
responsibility to cover at least the overhead costs of caring for those
who are most in need. The federal government's practice of passing the
buck must come to an end -- right here and right now. At stake is the
continued existence of high quality care for our senior citizens and
disabled American citizens," stated U.S. Representative Steve Kagen
(D-WI-8) at the Hill briefing.
News Week, 10/8/7
Comment: As most political
candidates, public officials and senior advocates ignore this
“hand-writing on the wall,” America speeds carelessly toward that
brick wall of fiscal reality.
of us have little hope to reverse this crash course of irresponsible
public policy, but we’re doing our best here at the Center for
Long-Term Care Reform.
the meantime, we can all redouble our efforts to sound the warning.
And those of you who market products like long-term care
insurance and reverse mortgages can do so much more.
can help people plan to protect themselves and their families from the
risk and cost of long-term care. For
everyone who accepts that responsibility, the load for America’s
social safety net is reduced.
stand proud and when the media or government officials bad mouth your
products, tell them this. People
who insure privately have a contract enforceable in a court of law and a
product actuarily underwritten with hard-dollar reserves backing it up.
ask them what kind of guarantee they give for Social Security, Medicare