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Developing a Better Long-Term Care Policy: A Vision and Strategy for America's Future

By: Sheila P. Burke, Judith Feder, and Paul N. Van de Water (eds.)
Final Report of the Long-Term Care Study Panel
Published: November 2005

This report focuses on two issues: developing a vision of a better, more responsive long-term care system and the policies to promote it; and developing a strategy to put long-term care on the national policy agenda. The current long-term care system is in urgent need of change because it falls far short of meeting reasonable expectations for its performance. Achieving a long-term care system that meets individual needs and distributes costs equitably, the report concludes, will require greater federal involvement and financing. The report is the final product of the National Academy of Social Insurance's study panel on long-term care; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided the primary financial support for the project.

Because the need for long-term care is a risk, not a certainty, the panel recommends that it should be handled through insurance, like other unpredictable and potentially catastrophic events. The study panel does not endorse one particular solution but identifies two promising approaches in its final report..

The study panel also commissioned a poll that found nearly three-quarters of baby boomers and seniors are concerned either a great deal or a fair amount about paying for long-term care. The results of the poll are detailed in a NASI issue brief, Long-Term Care: The Public's View. Another issue brief, Long-Term Care Financing: Models from Abroad, illustrates how other countries have devised long-term care systems that balance public financing with personal responsibility. The brief is drawn from a longer paper, Long-Term Care Financing: Models and Issues.