What do the 2012 presidential candidates believe about long-term care? This is a good question. Have you heard them mention long-term care at all in the debates? Has the media addressed long-term care as a growing concern for our nation? With the need for care expected to grow to 20 million families by 2020, it past time for someone to ask our presidential candidates some hard questions about solving this growing problem.
Fortunately, the National Council on Aging partnered with many other agencies to create a questionnaire for our candidates, asking them five important questions:
1. With the aging of the U.S. population, how would you recommend the country address its current and growing needs for long-term services and supports?
2. What are your plans for increasing the availability of home and community-based services that are much preferred over institutional care by seniors and people with disabilities who seek to maintain their independence and integration in society?
3. How would you propose to support family caregivers who provide the vast majority of long-term services and supports but often at great costs to themselves and American businesses?
4. What would you do to address the shortage of qualified direct-care workers needed to provide home and community-based services to seniors and people with disabilities?
5. What improvements should be made within the Medicaid program to provide choices for seniors and individuals with disabilities to receive services at home rather than in more costly nursing homes and institutions?
This questionnaire was sent to the campaigns of all major candidates for the Office of President of the United States, regardless of political party affiliation. Unfortunately, only two candidates responded: President Barack Obama, and Speaker Newt Gingrich.