Public Policy and Long Term Care insurance


    Public Policy and Long Term care Insurance



Long term care could be the nation’s most severe social crisis of the next century. At this present time there are a record number of elderly people in the United States. The amount of octogenarians who are alive and well in the country is a testament of better health care, better diet, and generally a more prosperous society. The great killers of the first half of the century, heart disease, influenza and pneumonia have been on the decline for decades. The public has greater access to medicine through Medicare and Medicaid. Many of the elderly have learned that the active life through exercise and social interaction has been a welcome replacement to the sedentary lifestyle of the classic rocker.


Economically this large group of seniors is a very wealthy generation, and it enjoys one of the most prosperous periods in  recent history. This aging generation of World War Two vets and depression era teenagers has the benefit of a vast population of baby boomers to pay into the coffers of the IRS. At the pace that revenues are coming in, the potential of a real balanced budget by 2002 is more realistic then ever. Ironically with all this wealth, Medicaid is in greater trouble than ever, and new legislation (Kassebaum-Kennedy) has been signed to tighten up eligibility. The government sees continued pressure on Medicaid in the near future, and is making Long Term Care insurance more attractive to both employers, their employees and the general public. In fact long term care insurance has become the most requested benefit now facing employers.


As our huge baby-boom generation ages, our children’s generation, which is a great deal smaller, will inherit both the increased tax and social burden. The big question that will loom over all of us in the 21st Century, may be “are there enough workers and producers to provide the revenues for this gigantic class of dependencies?” The greatest pressure will involve long term care. With genetic engineering, organ transplants, miracle drugs, the decline of smoking as a habit and great breakthroughs in medicine, the aging population will be exploding.  How will the government solve the problem of this aging population that suffers from new exotic diseases? Who will pay for Medicaid? Will the continued breakup of the nuclear family finally destroy the extended family that has provided home health care providers for eons? These are all important and disturbing questions. Much of this burden will fall on the individual, and much of the solution will come from the private sector in the form of long term care insurance. Individuals will be trained and prepared for an active and long life after retirement. At this pace government will not be able to be relied upon as in the tradition of the past!


Solving this major problem of generation imbalance will test our society severely. The building, the location and the condition of senior care facilities will occupy a great deal of our national treasure and the debate over it will be confrontational and divisive.                             



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