Long-Term Care in the United States
Carrion, Ileana Marie
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In the United States, long-term care services are widely used by several individuals in diverse age groups. The cost of long-term care continues to increase, creating an unsuitable issue of paying high out of pocket costs for care and subject many to the Medicaid eligibility requirements that have caused individuals to deplete (spend down) their remaining assets. Currently, there has been minimal congressional action to address the issue of long-term care costs and the problem of spending down. Certain legislation has been proposed but did not successfully become enacted or was repealed. For example, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act would have helped consumers cover some long-term care costs; however, federal officials could not make it work financially, and it was repealed. Nonetheless, states like Washington, passed legislation at a state level to support long-term care financing. In this policy memorandum, the goal is to lessen the burden of Medicaid eligibility requirements and protect individuals’ savings, finances, and home when applying for long-term care coverage. Therefore, to not increase Medicaid spending drastically and protect an individual from the high costs of long-term care, the Partnership Program within the Deficit Reduction Act will be amended and expanded. The second portion of the proposal is that Congress pass a law requiring all states to be required to offer an employer-based long-term care insurance option. Further, the memorandum will discuss the various policy and political benefits of long-term care insurance and the consequences. Presently, public views favor a government-administered insurance plan, or Medicare pays for its entirety. Contrary, the younger population has little confidence in government safety-net programs. While long-term care insurance has been successful in other countries, United States Republicans and Democrats have opposing health policy goals. Hence, there is a lack of bipartisanship for a solution to long-term care, and there has been for a significant amount of time. Upon considering the lack of political bipartisanship and potential policy flaws, it is recommended not to move forward with this proposal.