$400 Billion Plan to Support Long-Term Health Care Needs

In an effort to help older adults and people with disabilities maintain their independence for longer, the recently proposed infrastructure plan includes $400 billion over eight years to go toward home and community-based long-term care services.

 

Offering more long-term care options would help prevent the elderly and disabled from having to rely solely on nursing home care. Not to mention, existing long-term care facilities are already dealing with less funding and staff than they need.

 

The plan includes an expansion of home and community-based services for individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living, such as eating and bathing. Services may also include home visits from nurses, help with cooking and cleaning, transportation, and other necessities.

 

Since 70% of seniors will require these services at some point in their lives, a significant expansion to the system is crucial. In fact, the aging population in the U.S. will grow to 74 million by 2030. By then, the youngest of the Baby Boomer generation will be turning 65, which will further increase the need for additional long-term care services.

 

Currently, millions of family members are providing this care to their loved ones at a substantial cost—both financially and emotionally. The unfortunate reality is that many are choosing this option rather than cover the more expensive cost of long-term care services.

 

Even Medicare and Medicaid fall short when it comes to long-term care. Medicare only covers home-based care in specific and limited cases, and it only covers nursing home care for rehabilitative services for a maximum of 100 days. Medicaid, on the other hand, only mandates that states cover nursing home care and not home or community-based services. That said, some states do offer these services.

 

As an increasing number of seniors require care, expanding the workforce is vital but very difficult due to the low pay and little to no benefits. Although it isn’t specified how the $400 billion will be split, much of it is expected to cover extra wages and better benefits for long-term care workers. After all, they deserve to be appreciated for the work they do while also being able to support their own families.

 

Read the full article from NPR.

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