NAHC Submits Comments to House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee for Hearing on Long-Term Care Financing and Delivery
March 3, 2016 09:46 AM
On Tuesday, March 1, the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing entitled, “Examining the Financing and Delivery of Long-Term Care in the U.S.” The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has a long-standing position that Congress should address this important issue by enacting a comprehensive, high quality home- and community-based long-term care program.
Current public programs and private insurance are inadequate to meet the country’s growing need for long-term care services. The already significant need will grow substantially with the aging of the baby boom population and the emergence of new technologies that enable people with disabilities to live longer. The lack of coordinated and comprehensive long-term home- and community- based care often results in premature or unnecessary institutionalization, destruction of the family unit, and reduction of family resources to the point of destitution. The supportive, familiar environment of the home setting for care delivery, however, can provide a cost-effective option that may also enable stabilization of the individual’s chronic conditions.
A statement by NAHC, including recommendations for Congressional action, was submitted for the record. “Any long-term care plan adopted by the Congress should cause a paradigm shift toward much-needed federal coverage for care in the home and community setting rather than in institutions,” NAHC stated in its comments. “Currently, the great majority of Medicaid and public funds spent on long-term care are devoted to institutional care. The adoption of these recommendations in a long-term care plan would ensure that people with disabilities and chronically and terminally ill Americans receive the comprehensive, high quality home- and community-based care they need in the least restrictive environment.”
NAHC’s comments are available here.
The hearing followed the recent release of an independent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center providing recommendations to improve the financing of long-term care. The report recommended providing states with more flexibility to offer home- and community-based services under Medicaid. The report also recommended the establishment of a federal insurance program for catastrophic long-term care, as well as a more affordable option for private long-term care insurance. For a summary of the Bipartisan Policy Center report, see previous NAHC Report article here.
During the hearing, the members of the Subcommittee from both parties expressed a desire to address issues related to improving long-term care financing and delivery, including incentives for the use of home- and community-based services rather than institutional care. These recommendations included simplifying the existing waivers to make it less burdensome for states to expand the availability of Medicaid home- and community-based services. Additional recommendations from members of the Subcommittee included encouraging individuals to enroll in private long-term care insurance, the establishment of federal catastrophic plan, and Medicaid integrity measures.
Witness testimony for the hearing, as well as a Subcommittee memorandum and witness list are available here.
Stay tuned to NAHC Report in the coming days for more detailed coverage regarding the comments and recommendations made by witnesses and members of the Subcommittee during the hearing.