Presidential Candidates Criticized for Ignoring Long-Term Care Issues

Our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers know that long-term care issues matter to millions of Americans. Last year marked the first where the oldest members of the Baby Boomer generation began to retire. For many of these individuals, figuring out how they are golden to receive the extra care that they might need down the road is a very real concern. Considering the still precarious state of the economy, the seeming possibility of federal cutbacks, and similar issues, many residents worry that they will not have access to high-quality elder care. The prevalence of nursing home neglect and mistreatment makes the issue even clearer.

That is why it is surprising that there has been a lack of discussion among the presidential candidates so far this election season regarding these issues. An article this week in Forbes lambasted many of the candidates for their failure to even speak on the issue. Baby Boomers are voters, and it is reasonable that many would be interested in hearing where the candidates stand on long-term care issue. Unfortunately, as the article notes, “most presidential candidates don’t care enough about long-term care services to bother to describe their views on the issue.”

The article was referring to a survey sent out by fifteen different elder neglect prevention and advocacy groups including the National Council on Aging, National Senior Citizens Law Center, and others. The survey-a common tool used to get candidate opinion on certain issues on record-include only five questions. It was sent to President Obama and the main Republican presidential candidates: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney. However, only President Obama and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich even responded to the questionnaire.

The President’s response was rather brief. He noted that he supported home-care programs which seek to get residents out of nursing homes. Speaker Gingrich had a lot more to say. He mentioned that he thought repeal of President Obama’s healthcare bill was necessary and that Medicare needed to be changed from a guaranteed benefits program to one with defined contributions. In addition, he called on scraping the Medicaid system for a federal block grant program. Not only that, but Gingrich has suggested that Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts be used to allow residents to buy long-term care insurance. In addition, Gingrich noted in his survey response that he wants to promote new models of senior care which are focused on at-home caregiving and primary medical care. In so doing he discussed the use of assisted devices to help monitor seniors at home.

What the other candidates think about these issues is anyone’s guess.

The Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at our firm realize that these issues affect millions of residents. As such it is vital that community members understand how each candidate may affect these concerns. This information could affect a vote. Hopefully the ultimate Republican candidate and President Obama elaborate on the long-term care planning legislation and policy points later on in the election season.

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