Ensuring Affordable, Quality Long-Term Care an Urgent Challenge, Experts Say

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<p>More than two-thirds of respondents to the latest <a href="/publications/data-briefs/2008/jul/health-care-opinion-leaders-views-on-the-future-of-long-term-care
">Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey</a> believe it is important that the health reform plans of the presidential candidates address the quality and financing of long-term care.<br><br>Ensuring adequate financing, improving the quality of services, and developing an adequate, skilled long-term care workforce are some of the urgent challenges facing long-term care in the future, said four of five opinion leaders surveyed, who included experts from academia, health care delivery, health industry, business, labor, consumer advocacy, and government. Four of five respondents (79%) favor or strongly favor adding a long-term care benefit to Medicare, financed by a premium, to pay for care. And a majority believes that long-term care costs should be shared by individuals and the government (55%), while one-quarter (26%) say costs should be shared by individuals, employers, and the government.<br><br>"As our population ages, health care opinion leaders are sounding the alarm about the significant challenges we will face financing and improving the quality of long-term care," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Although health care leaders say long-term care is important to include in health care reform plans, the presidential candidates have not yet addressed this issue, which is certain to become an increasing concern for American families."<br><br>To read more about the survey's findings, read the Commonwealth Fund <a href="/publications/data-briefs/2008/jul/health-care-opinion-leaders-views-on-the-future-of-long-term-care
">issue brief</a>. Also be sure to read commentaries by <a href="/publications/commentaries/2008/jul/revamping-long-term-care-in-pennsylvania
">Nora Dowd Eisenhower</a>, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, and <a href="/publications/commentaries/2008/jul/long-term-care--preparing-for-the-next-generation
">Carol Raphael</a>, president and chief executive officer of Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Please share your own opinions through our commenting feature.</p>