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State and National Leaders Call for Long-term Care Financing Reform
Date:10/31/2008

Poll Shows Americans Support National Plan to Make LTC Affordable

NEW YORK, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The way America currently pays for long-term care (LTC) financing stands to undermine our family care giving and state Medicaid infrastructure if we do not come up with a solution, a panel of speakers said today in a forum at The New School.

The forum featured national and state policy experts discussing different potential solutions for reforming how we pay for long-term care. Panelists also discussed how the current fragmented system drains families' time and money and is crippling federal and state budgets.

"On average, caregivers spend more than 35 hours a week and $5,000 a year caring for elders and people with disabilities," said Larry Minnix, president & CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). "That's a full-time job and a significant amount of income."

Bob Kerrey, president of The New School and a former U.S. Senator, said: "No one should have to impoverish themselves to pay for the services they or their family members need in the event of disability or advancing age. All of us face these potential costs, and we must come together and devise a solution before our fragmented system crumbles under the weight of the baby boom generation."

The forum was cosponsored by AAHSA, The New School, The New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (NYAHSA) and the Continuing Care Leadership Coalition (CCLC).

Research shows the public also supports these principles. Pollster Mark Mellman shared data from a recent bipartisan poll commissioned by the AAHSA which found that while LTC does not rank nearly as high as concerns about the economy or the war in Iraq, a substantial number of consumers, across age and party affiliation, are worried about LTC and how to pay for it. These same consumers view with favor a proposal for a national insurance trust to address the costs of long-term care. Among other findings:

-- Regardless of political affiliation, people look favorably on a

presidential candidate who will support this proposal. Nearly

three-quarters (73%) of respondents also believe that it is important

this proposal to be a part of broader health care reform.

-- The strongest support is found among individuals who know first-hand

about current system's challenges: the people who receive and

provide care.

-- Strong levels of support are also found among young people ages 18 to

29.

-- Voters support the need for a solution that supports all Americans.

Nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) supported the idea that a national insurance

trust would create a universal system that provides support both to

low-income and disabled individuals. Respondents also found the concept

of allowing people to purchase the services they need in their homes at

a price they can afford attractive.

These findings are in line with national surveys conducted by the National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care and other organizations and corporations.

"Today's discussion reinforces the need for America to provide a sustainable solution that supports our country's most vulnerable populations," said Eli Feldman, president and CEO of Metropolitan Jewish and a speaker at the session. "Our current system is unhealthy and unsustainable. We must, at last, make it affordable to care."

About AAHSA

The members of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (http://www.aahsa.org ) serve as many as two million people every day through mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations dedicated to providing the services people need, when they need them, in the place they call home. Our 5,700 members offer the continuum of aging services: adult day services, home health, community services, senior housing, assisted living residences, continuing care retirement communities, and nursing homes. AAHSA's commitment is to create the future of aging services through quality people can trust.

About The New School

Located in the heart of New York's Greenwich Village, The New School is a center of academic excellence where intellectual and artistic freedoms thrive. Artists, scholars, and students from all walks of life attend its diverse programs and can earn everything from program certificates to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. When The New School was founded in 1919, its mission was to create a place where global peace and justice were more than theoretical ideals. New School students participate in programs that to this day strive for academic excellence, technical mastery, and engaged world citizenship. For more information, visit http://www.newschool.edu.

About NYAHSA

NYAHSA represents nearly 600 not-for-profit and public providers all across New York State committed to quality care and services and to reshaping the long term care delivery system to meet a growing and changing public demand. NYAHSA's members' services span the entire spectrum of care, from nursing homes to home care and independent housing, from assisted living and adult care facilities to adult day care and retirement communities. In those arenas they serve nearly 500,000 mostly frail elderly and disabled New Yorkers.

About CCLC

The Continuing Care Leadership Coalition is a membership and advocacy organization comprising more than 100 of the nation's most innovative and comprehensive not-for-profit and public long term care organizations, located in the New York metropolitan area and beyond. CCLC, an affiliate of the Greater New York Hospital Association, was established to harness the leadership and focus the collective experience of these organizations on the development of solutions to the challenges facing the long term care field today.


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SOURCE American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
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