Medicaid program faces long-term risks: congresswoman

Share this content:
Rep. Kathy Castor speaks about the Affordable Care Act
Rep. Kathy Castor speaks about the Affordable Care Act
Congress and various long-term care industry stakeholders need to work better together to ensure the viability of services in the coming years, seniors and their advocates were told Thursday in the first of a series of nationwide forums designed to shape public policy.

"The last budget [Congress] passed really put at risk our long-term care system, funded by Medicaid,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) said during the three-hour conference in Tampa. “We have a growing challenge on how to take care of older Americans in the last decades of their life. Is the answer to say 'Let's cut back on Medicaid services?' I don't think so. We've got to find a way to work together to ensure long-term care is available for everyone. That requires planning ahead and sometimes Congress doesn't do that very well.”

Thursday's conference can be viewed on the AARP website. A series of forums are scheduled this year across the country to gather input and ideas for the White House Conference on Aging, which will be held later this year in Washington. The White House Conference on Aging has been held once a decade, beginning in 1961 and is designed to help guide aging policy. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security.

Thursday's forum featured a number of speakers who addressed four key areas: ensuring that seniors have the financial means to sustain retirement; promoting healthy aging; providing long-term services and supports; and elder justice.

Decades of stagnancy on issues facing older Americans have left some long-term care stakeholders skeptical about the prospects for change, particularly at a time when 78 million baby boomers are moving into old age in a profound societal shift with a host of economic implications.

Future forums this year are planned in Phoenix (March 31), Seattle (April 2), Cleveland (April 27) and Boston (May 28).

Next Article in News