Friday, March 28, 2008
Kim Dayton (Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law) has recently published her article entitled Reality Check: The DRA's Impact on Seniors with Disabilities and Their Caregivers, 9 Marq. Elder's Advisor 13 (2007).
Here is the conclusion to her article:
There is no question that this nation needs to look closely at the means by which long-term care for elders with disabilities-indeed, all heath care, for everyone-is financed. Many options for restructuring the financing of long-term care for the elderly are available-including adding a long-term care benefit to Medicare or following the leads of Japan and Germany in creating a separate social insurance program to provide long-term care for older Americans. These will require additional taxes and may involve some general cost-shifting back to consumers who use government-financed health care services. But such cost-shifting should impact everyone, not just the elderly and disabled.
The DRA's solution to a crisis (that at the moment is largely manufactured) entailing the shifting of additional burdens onto groups that already bear most of the tremendous economic and emotional burdens that long-term disabilities implicate should not be considered acceptable. Nor should taxpayers be forced to support the long-term care partnerships, which amount to government sponsored discrimination benefiting a small group of wealthy, non-disabled Americans. The asset-transfer and LTCP provisions of the DRA should be repealed while Congress seeks gender- and ability-neutral solutions to the nation's future financing of long-term care for the millions of seniors who will need it in the coming decades.