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Answering Bush SOTU Retirement Reform Challenge, Long Term Care Profession Urges Congress to Enact Bold Reform of Long Term and Post Acute Care Delivery Systems
Date:1/29/2008

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Answering President Bush's State of the Union challenge to Congress urging bipartisan enactment of bold solutions to reform the nation's retirement programs, the leaders of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) and Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, urged Congress to break partisan gridlock on this front by taking up long term and post-acute care reform in the months ahead, with a specific policy focus on more private sector involvement, increased personal responsibility and a robust consumer education effort.

"The challenge issued by President Bush in his State of the Union address urging Congress to develop new ideas and proposals to reform America's faltering retirement structure should be taken up on Capitol Hill and by the 2008 presidential candidates, and we will continue to offer specific, constructive proposals to further debate and to affect new laws," stated Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL.

Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance, said, "Overall, the plan represents a new model for both financing and delivering long-term and post-acute care that is sustainable, patient-centered, and cost-effective. It would also help replace the current patchwork financing structure, increase the viability of private long term care financing, and streamline the post-acute care and long term care delivery systems."

The proposal, developed in conjunction with Avalere Health, a leading strategic health policy advisory organization, emphasizes improved coordination of both long term and post-acute care and financing, greater private sector involvement and more appropriate levels of personal responsibility. If enacted into law, the plan will afford consumers better, broader choices in terms of their health needs and services -- at every point in the retirement continuum. (For complete details of the proposal, go to http://www.ahca.org or http://www.aqnhc.org)

In addition, Yarwood and Rosenbloom said, the plan will not just allow federal and state lawmakers to seize control of eldercare financing issues, but it also offers welcome help to the nation's Governors by dramatically restructuring the Medicaid program, which currently finances the lion's share of long term care in America. Medicaid, established in 1965, remains a literal lifeline for the nation's less fortunate elderly, and must be reformed in a manner that ensures consistent care and services, as well as their financing, and that relieves growing pressure on state government to devote ever-greater resources to pay for care.

The AHCA/NCAL and Alliance leaders said the alternative to these reform measures -- the inevitable collapse of the system under the growing weight of its outdated financing structure -- is unacceptable. The plan in its totality, they said, will reorganize the Medicaid long term care and Medicare post-acute care systems by centralizing and streamlining government services and making more private resources available to pay for care, which will benefit the consumer, provider and taxpayer alike.


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SOURCE American Health Care Association
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