Editorial: Long-Term Care Financing Shows Need For Change
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Jan 12th, 2009 11:06am
- Eric Schubert
yesterday had a good editorial on the need for long-term care financing change. An excerpt is below. Long-term care financing is only elevating as an issue, and although our country’s and state’s financial crisis is horrible, it also is opening eyes that things need to change in this arena:
This year could be the worst yet for long-term care at the Capitol. The state’s looming $5 billion-plus biennial budget shortfall makes the nursing-home industry’s request for an additional $87 million over the next two years seem almost hopelessly unattainable, no matter how justified it is.
This is a pattern that badly needs to change. If it doesn’t, many more nursing homes will close, and the quality of care in those that remain will unacceptably erode.
Fortunately, the nursing-home industry, advocates for seniors and key legislators of both parties all acknowledge the need for change. While they come at the problem in different ways, they share the view that state government is carrying too much of Minnesota’s long-term care burden, and the state relies too much on costly institutional care.
A number of intriguing ideas have been floated that would change this picture over time. The state could create a tax-advantaged savings program to encourage more personal saving for long-term care needs. It could establish a low-cost social insurance system, modeled after Social Security, to cover a portion of the long-term care expenses of enrollees. The state fund that supports MinnesotaCare insurance could be tapped to jump-start such a program.
Funding long-term care through community-based consortiums, something already being tried, could be expanded, with an eye toward intensifying efforts to delay or prevent nursing-home stays.
Read the full editorial here.