NCOA Calls on Congress to Address Long-Term Care Crisis

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) applauded the Senate Aging Committee for holding a hearing Wednesday that discussed possible solutions to the long-term care crisis affecting the nation’s senior population.

With over 12 million Americans and their families requiring long-term care to assist them with activities of daily living, such as grooming or getting dressed, there has been a need to find a financing solution to help this growing population obtain these services. 

The need for an alternative financing solution is emphasized when considering that this number of Americans is projected to more than double to 26 million by 2050, according to NCOA. 

To devise a possible solution, Congress established the 15-member Commission on Long-Term Care under Section 643 of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 signed into law January 2, 2013.

The statute directs the Commission to “develop a plan for the establishment, implementation, and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports for individuals in need of such services and supports.” 

While the Commission did not adequately address the critical issue of financing, it did reach a bipartisan agreement on several recommendations on the topics of family caregiving, the direct care workforce, as well as quality measures for home and community-based services.

“It is now time for Congress to follow up on these common-sense recommendations to assist millions of struggling middle-class families,” wrote NCOA in a statement. “It is also long overdue for Congress to take action on the issue of financing, which was the central reason the Commission was formed.”

NCOA suggested that the best solution is to create a new national long-term care insurance program that allows people, including those living with disabilities and those near retirement, the opportunity to contribute to, and prepare for, the costs of long-term services and supports. 

“NCOA will continue to work with Congress, the White House, and other organizations—including those representing seniors, people with disabilities, providers, and insurers—to craft solutions to help millions of American families afford the long-term care they need to age with dignity and independence,” stated NCOA.

Written by Jason Oliva

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