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LTSS focus of Senate committee hearing

December 18, 2013
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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UPDATE: To read testimony from the hearing, click here.

The Senate Special Committee on Aging is set to meet today (Dec. 18) to discuss the recommendations made by the federal Commission on Long-Term Care related to long-term services and supports (LTSS) for seniors and disabled individuals. Among the topics to be considered are ways to expand Medicare and ways to make private long-term care coverage more affordable for those who need it.

The 15-member commission’s official approach to LTSS included adding options for those who prefer to live at home, aligning goals toward person-centered care delivery and improving care coordination among acute care, post-acute care and LTSS. The commission members could not agree on how to fund services, however, and five members issued alternative recommendations.

Scheduled witnesses at today's 2:15 p.m. hearing include:

  • Bruce Chernof, MD, the Democrat-appointed chairman of the commission;
  • Judy Feder, PhD, a Democrat-appointed commission member who was one of the dissenting commissioners;
  • Anne Tumlinson, MMHS, senior vice president of Avalere Health, a private healthcare business strategy and public policy advisory firm; and
  • Mark J. Warshawsky, the commission’s Republican-appointed vice chairman.

Chernof is president and CEO of the SCAN Foundation. Feder is a professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy and a fellow at the Urban Institute. Tumlinson formerly led Medicaid and long-term care policy for the federal Office of Management and Budget and also served as a legislative assistant on health and long-term care policy in the office of Rep. John Lewis (D‒GA). Warshawsky is a visiting adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The National Council on Aging, the AARP and the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations‒Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities have submitted statements for the record. The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute has called for the discussion to include ways to build and strengthen the direct-care workforce, which includes home health aides, personal care aides and nurse aides caring for seniors and others in homes, nursing homes and residential facilities.

Chairing the Senate committee is Sen. Bill Nelson (D‒FL). Ranking member is Sen. Susan M. Collins (R‒ME). Democratic members include Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Republican members include Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Watch the hearing live here.

See other content by this author here.