Expanding access to high-quality long-term care requires a multi-pronged solution, including a new public long-term care insurance program, improved Medicaid coverage of home and community-based services, and an expanded private insurance market. These are among the recommendations of a just-released report by a diverse group of policy experts from across the political spectrum.
The shortcomings of the current long-term care financing system are well known. The high cost of care can impose financial hardship on families. Unpaid caregivers play a critical role but often pay a great economic and emotional toll. Many people receive insufficient or inadequate care.
Efforts to develop a solution have so far come up short. Health reform established a federal, voluntary long-term care insurance program, known as CLASS, but it proved impossible to design a financially self-sustaining program within the law’s boundaries, and lawmakers repealed the program. A commission that Congress established to develop recommendations in the wake of CLASS’s repeal failed to reach a consensus.
The Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative, of which I’m a member, worked for over three years to reach agreement on ways to improve access to high-quality long-term supports and services for people at all income levels. Here’s what we recommend:
The Collaborative’s report offers a valuable guide for improving the financing of long-term care. It can help move the issue higher on the political agenda, serve as the basis for developing detailed proposals, and ultimately lead to a legislative solution.