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based upon social insurance principles. And although the Commission elected to do something less than that with respect to coverage for nursing home home care,
its recommendations do include two significant proposals regarding coverage for nursing home services.
First, the Commission's recommendations provide for good social insurance coverage for those who will stay in a nursing facility only for a short while. Such coverage will allow these individuals to return to their own homes with their financial resources and their community life very
in tact. Second, the Commission's recommendations provide for protection
protection against impoverishment for those who face lengthy nursing home stays. And while that protection will not be available to all individuals who require such care, the $30,000/$60,000 asset protection plan proposed by the Commission is a vast improvement over what is now available under the Medicaid program. The an offers help to those who have been been hurt most by the current system and it provides full protection for the life savings of three out of five of today's elderly Americans. As such, it cannot be construed or operated as a "welfare" program.
These proposals coupled with the Commission's recommendations regarding home health benefits comprise a sound, practical, and very much "doable" approach to resolving this country's long-term care crisis. I hope we can move forward with it as quickly as possible.
It has been a privilege to serve with you on the Commission. I look forward to working with you and other commissioners to introduce legislation setting forth the Commission's
Commission's recommendations and to secure the enactment of this legislation in the next Congress.
The trend lines are not favorable. If we are not careful, we could debate away half the decade, and find ourselves approaching the year 2000 with far more uninsured, far higher costs, far more frail elderly, and no reforms in place. We have to begin phasing in solutions to the twin crises of access to health care and long-term care. The publication of the Commission's report would be a good place to start.
With every good wish, I am,
TENRY A. WAXMAN