New Report Offers Ideas for Including Long-Term Care Services in Health Care Reform

A policy report by Georgetown University researchers presents four distinct policy options for including long-term care support and services in health care reform. The report, released by the SCAN Foundation, comes on the heels of a survey showing that nearly 80 percent of Americans would be more likely to support a health care reform package that includes improved coverage for long-term care services.

The Georgetown report, Long-Term Care in Health Care Reform: Policy Options to Improve Both, presents four options for improving access to long-term care for people of low-income and limited financial resources and ways to strengthen long-term care protections for the broader population. The four options would:

  • Expand Medicaid support for home and community-based services
  • Improve coordination of medical and long-term care for those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid
  • Improve coordination of medical and long-term care for Medicare enrollees with chronic conditions
  • Establish public insurance protection for long-term care for the broad population (similar to the recent proposal by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy)

"All four proposals could be enacted together," said Harriet L. Komisar, the report's lead author. "We selected proposals that we think make sense right now -- they would enable more people to obtain the vital long-term care supports and services they need and at the same time enhance major health and economic policy goals by improving the health and well-being of American families and the cost-effectiveness of health care delivery."

"With recent polling data indicating widespread public support for long-term care reform, the options presented in the Georgetown report provide federal policymakers a succinct guidebook for enacting meaningful reform that will benefit the growing population of people aged 65 and older," said Dr. Bruce Chernof, President & CEO of The SCAN Foundation.

The SCAN Foundation is the only foundation in the U.S. exclusively devoted to long-term care.

For an executive summary and the full report, click here.