KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Rising Cost Of Long-Term Care Threatens State, Federal Budgets

The Fiscal Times reports on the surging costs of long-term care, "which amount to a fiscal time bomb for states and the federal government."

The country thus far has failed "to lay the foundation for affordable long-term care insurance as 78 million baby boomers move into their senior years. Some 70 percent of Americans who reach 65 will eventually require help with daily activities like dressing and feeding themselves, according to studies, and 20 percent will require assistance for more than five years. Americans must basically fend for themselves in figuring out how to meet these expenses, unlike folks in Japan and much of Europe, where government-managed long-term care insurance is affordable and mandatory. ... In this country, financing relies most heavily on the joint federal-state Medicaid program, which pays more than 40 percent of total long-term care spending, according to the Scan Foundation, and requires individuals to impoverish themselves to qualify."

A report by America's Health Insurance plans found that "Medicaid spending for long-term care is projected to total more than $3.7 trillion from 2008 to 2028 … and to grow at a faster rate than both overall health care spending and the U.S. gross domestic product. And that surge in spending will only exacerbate state and federal budget woes" (Greenwald, 10/20). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.