Support for Medicare-style, government long-term care insurance program surges, large AP-University of Chicago poll finds

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Skilled nursing providers and inpatient rehab facilities offer clashing views on Medicare payments
Skilled nursing providers and inpatient rehab facilities offer clashing views on Medicare payments

The idea of a government-run long-term care insurance program similar to Medicare has become much more popular in the last year, according to the findings of a large nationwide survey. Independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago and The Associated Press conducted the 1,400-person poll.

Among respondents at least 40 years old, support for a Medicare-style program increased 7 percentage points from last year's inaugural long-term care survey, reaching 58%.

Support among black respondents spiked 21 points, to 77%. And support rose 13 points, to 65%, among households with less than $50,000 in annual income.

The research organizations did not offer an explanation as to why these increases occurred.

Despite growing support for a federal program specifically designed to cover long-term care, government action does not appear likely, the AP noted in an article accompanying the poll results. It highlighted the failure of the Congressional Long-Term Care Commission to agree on payment reforms in a report issued last year. The Commission was convened after Congress scrapped the CLASS Act — a component of the Affordable Care Act that would have revamped the government's role in paying for long-term care.

The AP article also noted that many people still mistakenly believe that Medicare itself funds ongoing skilled nursing facility care. Furthermore, long-term care planning still is not common — people are more likely to discuss their funeral plans with loved ones, the poll found.

Click here for the full survey results, which were released Monday.

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