House Democrats, flush with victory from the midterm elections, may explore financing reform in long-term care, a prominent Forbes columnist said Monday.
Author and eldercare expert Howard Gleckman noted that Democrats tend to be supportive of moving Medicaid recipients away from nursing homes and toward more community-based care. The Trump administration has focused on allowing state flexibility with Medicaid.
“However, this idea will raise red flags among some Democrats who fear it will be a step towards a broader block grant program for senior services,” wrote Gleckman. “Their fear: Blocks grants will inevitably lead to funding cuts.”
Democrats may have other ideas to shift payment for long-term care in 2020. For instance, the likely incoming chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Frank Pallone (D-NJ), has developed draft legislation that would create a public catastrophic long-term care insurance program. But the bill has left out critical details on how this benefit might be funded, Gleckman said.
“Until [Pallone] deals with that issue, it is hard to see much movement in Congress,” he wrote. “With Republicans and even many Democrats reluctant to raise taxes on middle-income households, it is hard to see where the money for such a program would come from. Still, with Pallone in a high-profile chairmanship look for the issue of long-term care to get some attention in the next Congress.”