President Barack Obama recently appointed the last three members of the Commission on Long-Term Care that is required to develop a plan by mid-September to reform long-term services and supports for people with disabilities and seniors. Congress created the commission as part of the fiscal cliff deal that repealed the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act which was supposed to establish a national insurance program to help pay for long-term care.
The 15-member commission is tasked with developing 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.” This includes analyzing the interaction between Medicare, Medicaid and private long-term care insurance, as well as looking at ways to improve health care programs and workforce issues.
One of the individuals appointed by President Obama is disability advocate Henry Claypool, executive vice-president of the American Association of People with Disabilities. Claypool was paralyzed in a skiing accident while in college and previously worked for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Other commissioners include health and long-term care policy experts, representatives from the nursing home and the senior service industry, physicians, a union official, a philanthropist seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the vice chair of the AARP board and a Medicare consumer advocate.
The annual cost for long-term care is about $725 billion a year, according to U.S. News & World Report. More than 60 percent of that is unpaid family care. Approximately $200 billion comes from government programs, mainly Medicaid. Families pay about $70 billion through direct spending or for private long-term care insurance.
The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities supports the position that people with disabilities and their families should receive comprehensive health, rehabilitation and long-term support services provided on the basis of individual need, preference and choice. TCDD also supports the position that all people with disabilities should have access to the services and supports they need to live in the community.