Long-Term Care Commission
In January of this year Congress established a 15 member, bi-artisan Commission on Long-Term Care to “develop a plan for the establishment , implementation, and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated and high quality system and ensures the availability of long-term services and supports for elderly individuals, individuals with substantial cognitive or functional limitations, other individuals who require assistance…” Overall the challenge is lofty for the commission considering the enormous subject matter, little to no budget and a time frame for reporting of only 6 months. The six month timeframe begins once all members have been appointed and the report to Congress, with recommendations for administrative or legislative action, to address the financing, and delivery/coordination of long term care.
The commission will be comprised of 6 Republicans and 9 Democrats; including 3 Presidential appointments. Most of these positions have already been named and are comprised of a variety of individuals at least 2 physicians, long-term care provider industry, and an assortment of policy /special interest group professionals. This commission comes in the wake of the repeal of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act.
Long-term care needs and costs are rising according to latest reports from the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information and the 2012 Met-Life survey of long-term care services. It is estimated that 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will need long term care at some point. Paying for long-term care is increasingly challenging as Medicare and private insurance generally does not cover these expenses and other options are equally limited. Currently, Medicaid is the primary payor for long-term care services and Medicaid is expected to continue to play a significant role in ther providing of care to elderly Americans as reported in the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured released earlier this year.