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AAHSA Statement on House Ways and Means Committee Hearing
Date:6/24/2009

"Health Reform in the 21st Century: Proposals to Reform the Health System"

WASHINGTON, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) applauds the House Ways and Means Committee and its chair Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) for addressing value of including long-term services and supports in health care reform legislation. Long-term services and supports are often ignored, despite their central role in America's health care crisis. The needs are great. The costs are high. Insurance coverage is nearly non-existent. This makes it simply unaffordable to care.

While health reform discussions have focused on the acute care system, we note that the principles that underlie this draft bill resonate in the long term services and supports field and mirror AAHSA's public policy and the policy adopted by well over 100 organizations representing aging services and other providers, consumer groups and persons with disabilities.

We are also pleased the committee's draft recognizes the value of improving the payment system for nursing homes and address critical workforce issues, access for beneficiaries, quality improvement and transparency.

What our country needs is a national insurance trust whose premiums provide cash benefits to pay for long-term services and supports experience. When we are well, we would pay premiums as we do for car or health insurance. An example is Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, included in health reform legislation proposed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Every family faces the potential costs of long-term services and supports, and every family needs a structure for personal planning with the protection of a public program as well. AAHSA and its members look forward to working with Congress and the Administration on a comprehensive and badly-needed
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SOURCE American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
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