U.S. needs to brace up to provide long-term care

The findings of the latest report of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care suggest that authorities in the United States need to brace up to face the challenge of providing long-term-care to the elderly in the country.

The old age population in the U.S. is expected to burgeon as 78 million baby boomers; born between 1946 and 1964 head into old age.

Mobilize resources
The congressional report recommends that government agencies should, with immediate effect, mobilize private and public resources and create adequate infrastructure that will ensure the long term care of this section of the society.

In the absence of such augmentation of resources and infrastructure, the long-term care of baby boomers has the potency to cripple Medicaid, the state and federal health program.

Medicaid had to shell out $131 billion, or 62 percent of the country’s total spending, for long-term care in 2011. The US government has abandoned its plans to provide affordable long-term care, citing financial reasons.

The long term-care insurance industry in the United States is shrinking. There are fewer carriers offering the product and premiums are on the rise.

Slew of recommendations
While the problem appears insurmountable, the commission has a different take on the matter.

The commission’s work “dispels the myth that our nation’s long-term-care crisis is just too hard a problem to tackle.”

The commendable work centers on people who need long-term care and the settings under which such care should be provided. The commission is also devising ways to make such long-term care more affordable.

The commission is in favor of maintaining Medicaid’s safety net. However, at the same time, it is of the opinion that more programs should be developed whereby citizens “comprehend and better prepare for the financial risk” of needing long-term care.

The commission is also mulling more “private options for financial protection” along with “social insurance.”