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Long-Term Care, Essay Example

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Essay

Among the numerous problems in elderly care, the United States is quickly approaching a “perfect storm” in the provision of nursing home care.  The baby boomers, one of the largest cohorts in US history, began to retire in 2010.  The roughly 76 million individuals face a number of chronic and debilitating medical conditions that may require nursing home care for either some or all of their retirement years.

As a result, the current nursing homes system will face two main challenges: 1) financing; 2) staffing. Although a majority of baby boomers may have some type of savings, the average level of individual savings, combined with Medicare’s low threshold for long-term care payment, will strike many ill prepared to pay for nursing home care.  In addition, private long-term care insurance providers have faced difficulty selling expensive policies and managing risk in small risk pools (Tumlinson & Aguigar, 2009). 2) An acute staffing shortage for not only geriatric doctors, but also for many of the lower-level providers of every day care for the residents.

In order to deal with this problem, state and federal legislators should consider subsidization of long-term care at different margins.  First, state and federal legislators need to establish a funding stream to provide subsidization for nursing homes, and most likely, for those offering care to the elderly.  The subsidy could come in numerous forms such as reduced prices in cares for individuals or via the subsidization of training for staff that would result in an increase of worker supply (AARP, 2010).

References:

AARP (2010).  Federal and state income tax incentives for private long-term care insurance.  Available at: http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/ppi/econ-sec/ib181-tax-incentives.pdf.

Tumlinson, A. & Aguigar, C.  (2009).  Closing the long-term care funding gap: the challenge of private long-term care insurance.  Kaiser Family Brief.  Available at: http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/ppi/econ-sec/ib181-tax-incentives.pdf.

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