A Present From Teddy

by digby

Here's a little piece of surprising good news that's floating under the radar in the health care debate:

WITH LITTLE FANFARE, a new public program to help pay for long-term care for adults is moving through Congress. The premium is low and the coverage is good.

Largely geared to personal and health services provided in the home, though it extends to nursing home care as a last resort, the new coverage is built into the emerging formula for national healthcare reform.

The need for home care is immense. More than 10 million Americans receive home care, and the number will rise rapidly as the population ages. Estimates hold that 75 percent of us will need home care at some point during our lifetime.

This kind of medical/social service is of inestimable benefit to the chronically ill, the elderly, the mentally disabled, and to adults recuperating from a temporary illness. Home-based personal assistance would allow many of them to return to work. And it would be a godsend for the 90 percent of Americans who have had no meaningful protection against this medical expense.


The long-term care program has the backing of President Obama as well as about 100 organizations for the disabled, elderly, and workers, along with 80 percent of voters queried in opinion polls.

This is Kennedy's baby and it's a really good idea. Commercial long term care insurance, which only rich people have anyway, is expensive and terrible. This is one of those things that will make a huge difference in many people's lives if it actually happens. And it's happening completely under the radar, a sort of secret bequest from the man who's been pushing for universal health care for more than 40 years.

h/t to bb