Why Aren’t Candidates Talking About Long-Term Care?
On the eve of the first votes of the 2016 presidential contest, there’s at least one familiar political pattern: nary a mention of one of the most critical issues facing many American families: long-term care. “Unless something dramatic happens to cause people to pay attention, I don’t see it affecting this election or the next administration,” says Carol Levine, a national advocate for the 40 million unpaid family caregivers and director of the United Hospital Fund’s Families and Health Care Project, which develops partnerships between the health care community and family caregivers. Because most Americans don’t anticipate needing long-term care – until they do need it – there are only three options when the crisis hits: rely on unpaid (family) caregiving; pay for home care or nursing home care; or tap into federal and state Medicaid programs that require people to spend down most of their assets in exchange for receiving government-funded services. Nursing home care now costs, on average, $80,300 per year for a semi-private room; a home health aide working 44 hours a week – just over six hours a day – costs $45,760. “Candidates are crazy not to mention it because it is what most families are dealing with,” says veteran ABC News and NPR political commentator Cokie Roberts. “Fully a third of households in America are taking care of an elderly or disabled member.”
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.