America’s long-term care (LTC) system is broken. The Biden administration pushes more government money and regulation on the industry. In a new paper on LTC for the Paragon Health Institute, “Long-Term Care: The Problem,” I show that the federal government created this problem. So more of the same won’t help.
LTC includes supportive services for people who cannot dress, wash, transfer, use the toilet, eat, or turn in bed without assistance. Age or disability (physical or cognitive) can impair the ability to perform those daily activities that are usually lost in that order.
LTC need due to age is huge and growing. Seventy percent of people who reach age 65 will develop severe LTC needs and 48 percent will receive paid care. Paid care spikes around age 85. The 85+ population will more than double by 2040.
LTC is expensive whether provided in a nursing home ($260 per day for a semi-private room), assisted living ($4,500 per month), or at home ($27 per hour for a home health aide). Government already funds nearly three fourths of total LTC spending. Medicaid — means-tested welfare — pays the most (42.1 percent), and Medicare pays another 18 percent.