LTC Bullet: Amplify LTC Sanity
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
LTC Comment: In
today’s echo chamber of irresponsible fiscal and monetary advocacy, a
voice for responsible LTC planning and policy is more critical than ever.
LTC BULLET: AMPLIFY LTC SANITY
LTC Comment: The U.S. national debt is about to tip over $22 trillion. That’s $67,547 for every man, woman and child in the country. Even that figure is dwarfed by our total unfunded liability for Social Security, Medicare, federal employee, and veterans’ benefits: $123 trillion or $376,113 per citizen. Entitlement programs for the elderly plus interest on the debt to pay for them threaten to crowd out other government spending. According to the Congressional Budget Office (p. 12), half of noninterest federal spending will go to the elderly by 2029. Yet we hear loud calls to expand Social Security and Medicare even further.
Alas, even entitlement spending is small potatoes as Congress considers the “Green New Deal.” That resolution proposes to eliminate greenhouse gases, feed all Americans, upgrade every building in the U.S., replace air travel with high-speed rail, and guarantee “a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.” All in 10 years! Even a perennial advocate of expanded government long-term care spending acknowledges “the resolution’s ambitious promises will add trillions of dollars to the nation’s debt. And that itself could slow the economy.”
Frankly, we’re spoiled. Like a child who wants an expensive toy, we don’t care how much it costs as long as someone will get it for us somehow. Too many Americans have come to think that buying something and paying for it are two entirely unrelated matters. Want a new house? Get a “liar’s loan.” Need a car? Buy it on credit with interest deferred. Save for retirement? Why bother when Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid await? Aging Americans’ widespread ill-preparedness for retirement is easy to understand in such a frame of mind.
But how do we explain the same lack of concern about the government spending beyond its means by politicians and public officials who ought to know better? Don’t they understand what will happen when they borrow, spend, and promise with no thought to repayment? The answer is that people and their political representatives are slowly sliding into this sinkhole of irresponsibility because it works. Rather, it has seemed to work for several decades. We’ve ignored debt and deficits so long without dire consequences that we’ve become jaded. We wonder “Why can’t this go on forever?”
Socialism works until it doesn’t
Adam Smith said “there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” By promising citizens retirement income and medical security through unfunded entitlements, we’ve chipped away at America’s “ruin” since the Depression. Just as debilitating, we’ve undermined fiscal and monetary responsibility since the Great Recession by spending more carelessly than ever before and deferring the consequences through artificially low interest rates. Nations’ ruin may come slowly, but following such practices it comes inevitably. Cuba, Venezuela, the Soviet Union and every previous attempt to have something for nothing in every historical epoch provide the proof. You can delay but you cannot avoid the consequences.
Like each of those examples, America’s fate is inevitable without a change of course. Pursuing such policies will lead ultimately to an economic paroxysm. Just as bankruptcy comes sooner or later to irresponsible individuals and to failed companies, countries can only consume their economic “seed corn” for so long before further financial prestidigitation fails. Currency devaluation, inflation, economic stagnation, shortages, hunger, civil unrest, poverty, crime, depression … follow inexorably.
What does this have to do with Long-Term Care?
It’s not hard to see this same story playing out in the economy’s long-term care microcosm. America has funded LTC since 1965 through Medicaid, a public welfare program. Supposed to require spend down, Medicaid has actually provided a long-term care safety net for the middle class and affluent as well as the poor. By paying for nursing home care after care is needed without effective spend down requirements and enforcement, Medicaid created institutional bias, impaired development of a private market for home care, and crowded out savings, investment and insurance as preferable funding sources. Without even the pretense of a trust fund, Medicaid is today a dead fiscal weight on the country’s future adding substantially to the problems discussed above.
So what should we do about it? Most long-term care policy analysts and advocates call for even more government involvement and funding. They either ignore paying for government’s increased role altogether, adding to the debt, or they propose higher taxes or “premiums,” further reducing private capital and debilitating the economy. In a phrase, they propose doing more of the same and hoping for a different result, AKA insanity.
There is another way
Are you aware of a different voice in the LTC financing conversation? If you’re reading this, you probably know the Center for Long-Term Care Reform has stood resolutely for two decades in opposition to excessive government dependency and in favor of personal responsibility.
We’ve conducted and published dozens of national and state-level studies explaining why government-financed long-term care has failed and advocating “simple, cost-free solutions.” Steve Moses’s articles and speeches have urged less welfare dependency and more personal responsibility in both public policy and individual planning. The Center’s 2008 “Long-Term Care Consciousness Tour” crisscrossed the country delivering that message through TV, radio, and professional appearances. Since then we developed the “Index of Long-Term Care Vulnerability” to measure and publicize states’ risks from burgeoning LTC expenditures. So far, we’ve applied the Index and published its results for New Hampshire, New Jersey, Georgia and Virginia. With your help, we could do the same for the other 46 states and help them get in front of the age wave instead of being swamped by it.
What else do we do for you?
We publish daily “LTC Clippings” to keep you apprised of the latest articles, reports, and data related to health and long-term care issues. We do the research so you can focus on doing your job while staying at the forefront of professional knowledge and expertise. Read testimonials about our “LTC Clippings” here including this one from our late friend and colleague, the highly regarded and beloved sales trainer Mark Randall:
Your clipping service has saved me hundreds of hours of research each year since we started receiving your clippings. Using it makes me feel confident knowing that I’m on top of anything happening in the industry – from legislation to state movements to industry and insurer announcements. And being on top of things is critical in our industry. Any serious LTCi agent who doesn’t take advantage of this . . . doesn’t realize the value the service can bring to their production! For anyone above the level of agent, this service has to be considered a must. Thank you for your diligence in uncovering all the daily news a person in our industry needs!
Once a week, on Monday, we compile the previous week’s “LTC Clippings” in an “LTC E-Alert,” so you’ll never miss a critical piece of news even if you skip a Clipping on the day it’s published. These E-Alerts are also archived in our members-only website, “The Zone,” along with an organized compilation of all the news of the past decade or so that we call “The Almanac of Long-Term Care.” Also in The Zone:
Frequently, we publish “LTC Bullets” like the one you’re reading now to report and analyze developments that we believe anyone active in the long-term care market needs to understand and consider. Today’s is LTC Bullet number 1,247. You can review them all archived both chronologically and by subject here. Age Wave founder Ken Dychtwald once said this about the Bullets and the Center’s reports:
In my attempt to stay abreast of this subject, I continually scan dozens of reports and newsletters. However, I have found no resource more insightful and useful than the LTC Bullets I regularly receive as well as the potent reports the Center for Long-Term Care Financing [Reform, since 2005] periodically prepares. Keep up the great work - your analyses and conclusions are like a lighthouse beacon.
Over the years, we’ve done countless interviews, seminars and presentations advocating private long-term care financing solutions. Find testimonials about those here including this one:
From the moment of the legislative breakfast to [a TV] interview at 7:30 Tuesday morning, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response to our sponsorship [of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform’s LTC Tour] from the media and the community. This means bundles for us, our company, and furthering the cause of long-term care planning.
Gail Lindsey of Lindsey and Associates – Chattanooga, TN
Frankly, friends, it’s a little lonely out here making the case for personal responsibility and freedom from government interference. We need all the help we can get. If today’s message strikes a chord, please …
You can find our “Membership Levels and Benefits Schedule” here. It describes all the advantages of membership at each of the individual and corporate levels. When you’re ready to join us in this noble fight, contact Steve Moses at 425-891-3640, firstname.lastname@example.org or Damon at 206-283-7036, email@example.com.
We can do this, but not alone. When you support the Center for Long-Term Care Reform and encourage others to do so, you “Amplify” our common voice for “LTC Sanity.” Make the Center your megaphone! Thanks for your consideration.