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Entries in Long-Term Health Care (2)

Friday
Dec302011

Gingrich Chokes Up in Iowa Talking About Mother

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich is known as a policy wonk and a tough politico.

But a softer, rarely-seen side of the former Georgia congressman was on display in Iowa Friday when he choked up during an event with an Iowa mothers’ group talking about his mother and her struggle with bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.

“When you think of your mom, what special moment comes to mind when you think of your mom?” Gingrich was asked by Frank Luntz, a GOP pollster conducting the town hall conversation.
 
“Well, first of all, you’re going to get me all teary-eyed,” Gingrich, 68, said. “First, I will tell you, I get teary-eyed every time we sing Christmas carols. My mother sung in the choir and loved singing in the choir…and I don’t know if I should admit this, but when I was really young, she had me singing in the choir. We have pictures of me singing in the choir. But I identify my mother with being happy, loving life, having a sense of joy in her friends. But what she introduced me to, is later in her life she wound up in a mental-health facility. She had bipolar disease and depression and that introduced me to the whole issue of quality long-term care, which I did with [former Nebraska Sen.] Bob Kerrey for three years. And then that introduced me to Alzheimer’s, which I did with him for three more years. And my whole emphasis of brain science comes indirectly from dealing with the real problems within my family. So it’s not a theory. It’s, in fact, my mother.”

Gingrich has worked with Democrat Kerrey on long-term care for seniors and brain science. The two men have served together on the Alzheimer’s Study Group.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct142011

Obama Administration Pulls the Plug on Long-Term Care Program

Tom Williams/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama Administration threw in the towel Friday, acknowledging that a Long-Term Care provision in the health care law championed by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was financially unsustainable.

Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote a letter to Congress that a 19-month “comprehensive analysis” of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program indicated that it was not viable.

CLASS was a voluntary program where a taxpayer could say, “I may need long term care someday,” and volunteer to pay premiums that would allow the taxpayer to get that cash later in life. There were concerns about this program as it was being formed, leading Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., to push a provision in the health care legislation saying HHS would need to certify that CLASS Act would be actuarially sound and financially solvent for 75 years before it could be implemented.

Friday Sebelius acknowledged that she couldn’t make that certification.

“The challenge that CLASS was created to address is not going away,” she noted. “By 2020, we know that an estimated 15 million Americans will need some kind of long-term care and fewer than three percent have a long-term care policy. … (L)eft unaddressed, long-term care costs to taxpayers will only increase. Without insurance coverage or the personal wealth to pay large sums in their later years, more Americans with disabilities will rely on Medicaid services once their assets are depleted, putting further strain on State and Federal budgets.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement that the announcement essentially meant that the Obama administration was acknowledging “what they refused to admit when they passed their partisan health bill: the CLASS Act was a budget gimmick that might enhance the numbers on a Washington bureaucrat’s spreadsheet but was destined to fail in the real world.”

Joyce A. Rogers, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at AARP, issued a statement saying that the powerful seniors organization was “disappointed that the Secretary has prematurely stated she does not see a path forward to properly implement CLASS. In fact, the CLASS actuarial report established that CLASS can still be designed to be a ‘value proposition,’ although development work still needs to be done. We urge the Administration to continue dialogue and development of a viable path forward. Medicare does not cover long-term care, and 70 percent of people age 65 and over will need long-term care services at some point in their lifetime.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio