A federal commission, tasked with creating a plan for funding long-term daily living services for the elderly and people with disabilities, released a three-page series of recommendations on September 13.
The Congressional Long-Term Care Commission, however, did not come to a consensus on how to pay for the services. The proposal received bipartisan support from 9 of the 15 members, but a minority of five Democrats and one Republican released a separate plan, calling for a national long-term insurance program to cover long-term services, according to an article by Kaiser Health News.
“The vast majority of working Americans with disabilities are forced to pay out-of-pocket or remain impoverished in order to receive the long-term services and supports they need to lead meaningful lives,” said Henry Claypool, executive director of the American Association of People with Disabilties and commission members, in a news release. “Any serious proposal to address the current and future (long term services and supports) needs of Americans requires a structure that allows risk to be spread as broadly as possible and must be financed by pooling resources, which is best done through a public program.”
The commission was created by Congress as part of its Jan. 2 deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, as a substitute for the CLASS Act, a since repealed provision of the Affordable Care Act that would have created an insurance program for long-term care.
The report’s recommendations are wide ranging, including supporting criminal background checks for long-term care workers, ensuring that family caregivers are included in care planning, using more technology to share information; revising scope of practice rules to allow nurses and others to provide medical services and improving working conditions and opportunities for direct care workers, according to Kaiser Health News.
The final report will be available next week.
“We understand that the Commissioners did not have enough time to fully address the complexities of ensuring long-term services and supports for those who need them,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc, in a news release. “However, the importance of long term services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities cannot be overstated.
“It is now imperative that Congress act responsibly to address the pending crisis in long term services and supports for seniors and people with disabilities. The ball is in their court, and they have a responsibility to all of us to act.”