Along with the rest of the nation, you are probably watching the progress of various versions of the health care legislation making their way (or not making their way) through Congress. An article in the Deember 13, 2009, issue of the New York Times points out that the current bill contains a “major new federal insurance program for long-term care” — although many are not aware of it. It is sometimes referred to as the “CLASS ACT”, so known by the initials for the full title, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act.

Should it become law, the program might have a significant positive benefit for a social problem that is already bad, and promises to get worse. That is, how are we to care for members of our society who can no longer care for themselves, but might live for years? To give just one prominent example, former President Ronald Reagan revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 1994, but did not pass away until ten years later.

Nursing home costs have the potential to bankrupt families that are not prepared with legal planning. Drafted by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy several years ago, this federal insurance program might be an important tool in addressing the problem, but critics say it will be unsustainable. Instead of families going bankrupt paying for nursing home care, it will be the government, in their view.  Supporters view the matter quite differently, and believe that it will not only help with the reduction of the Deficit but, more importantly, will enhance the quality of life for the elderly,  disabled and their families.    Read the entire article here.