Providers, Senate leader focus on long-term care financing after State of the Union address

The White House and Congress should work together to ensure that older Americans have necessary financial resources, including for long-term care, provider associations and prominent lawmakers said in response to Tuesday's State of the Union address.

President Barack Obama delivered the annual address for the sixth time on Tuesday night, and he focused less on healthcare than in past years, when his reform efforts faced more dire threats. His speech this year centered largely on the need to shore up the financial security of “working families,” through policies such as child care tax credits and lower mortgage premiums.

Helping people save adequate retirement funds also needs to be a high priority, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) stated in her response. She specifically advocated for the Retirement Security Act, which she has introduced with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). Collins recently took over from Nelson as chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and she pledged to work with the White House to advance the committee's agenda.

The Assisted Living Federation of America also emphasized the need for financial security later in life, in particular to enable seniors to pay out-of-pocket for long-term care needs.

“We support public policy initiatives that increase access to private-pay solutions for funding long-term services and supports and stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to come together to develop workable and common sense reforms to address the needs of our nation's aging population,” ALFA President and CEO James Balda stated in his organization's response to the speech Wednesday.

Click here to see a video of the State of the Union address.