Ecumen Provides Presidential Candidates 10 Top Reasons to Discuss Long-Term Care Reform

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Senior housing provider Ecumen highlights reasons for financing reforms necessary in the American age wave.

If we're going to have a truly coordinated health care system in America, that promotes wellness from cradle to grave, then long-term care financing reform must be part of American innovation - Aging services provider Ecumen, one of the country's largest non-profit senior housing companies, finds it unfathomable that long-term care reform isn't being discussed by Presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain.

"10 Reasons Long Term Care Financing Needs to Be Reformed in America," a recent post to Ecumen's Changing Aging blog gives both candidates 10 reasons to discuss long-term care financing. The blog also outlines a financing plan put forth by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), which would provide an annual cash benefit of $27,000 for less than a cup of coffee per day. Also posted are reform ideas by AARP.

"If we're going to have a truly coordinated health care system in America, that promotes wellness from cradle to grave, then long-term care financing reform must be part of American innovation," says Kathryn Roberts, a baby boomer and president and CEO of Ecumen. "This is a health care issue, a fiscal issue, a life quality issue, a personal responsibility issue, a business issue, and it impacts every single American - we're all aging."

"The issue of such care is perfect for both candidates who want to bring change to America," said Roberts. "The age wave represents millions of people who want to age in place and want services that are not institutional. To meet that huge desire for change and new choices, we have to also transform how we pay for people's desire for independence."

About 10 million Americans need long-term care today, while 12 million will need it by 2020. Long-term includes an array of services and supports people need when they can no longer care for themselves. Medicaid pays for 42 percent of all long-term care expenditures. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, this costs federal and state governments $116.8 billion every year. And according to a new AARP report, most states allocate a greater percentage of their Medicaid dollars to institutional care rather than home and community-based services. Combined with Americans deplorable savings history, many Americans are at risk of not producing enough income to cover basic expenditures related to aging services.

And therein is tremendous opportunity for McCain and Obama. According to the Long-Term Care National Survey conducted by the bi-partisan polling team of The Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies, 8 in 10 voters state that presidential candidates should make long term care an integral part of their health care proposals.

Readers are invited to share additional reasons for long term care financing reform, and to discover more thoughts and opinions on this subject, at Ecumen's Changing Aging blog.

About Ecumen:
Ecumen ( is based in Shoreview, Minn., and is one of the largest non-profit senior housing, services and development companies in the United States. The name Ecumen comes from the word ecumenical, which in turn is derived from the Greek word for home: "Oikos". Ecumen's mission is to create "home" for older adults wherever they choose to live. Ecumen is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and has 4,000 team members. Ecumen writes about news and ideas that are shaping the future of aging services at its Changing Aging blog:


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