“The two most important driving forces for the federal budget are the aging of the U.S. population and rapidly rising health-care costs.”
– Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
Law makers from both sides of the aisle have come together to create a “Super Committee” comprised of six Democrats and six Republicans, half come from the House of Representatives and half come from the Senate. The members of the Super Committee are tasked with finding at least $1.5 Trillion in budget cuts over 10 years. Reports are that the Committee is struggling to meet its goal because they are facing deadlocks over how to handle a mix of cuts and taxes to bolster two of the biggest budget areas of our country—Medicare and Medicaid.
The Super Committee must present their recommendations to Congress by November 23 to face an up or down vote before Christmas. The question for Christmas this year is which groups will be visited by St. Nick and which will meet the Grinch. Some very tough decisions need to be made and no area is protected. Adding to the pressure of the situation is the fact that if Congress rejects the recommendations of the Super Committee then automatic cuts of $1.2 Trillion as well as possible tax increases will be enacted across the entire federal budget sparing no one.
Families already under enormous economic pressure will find it even more difficult to pay for long term care services for loves ones. Government dollars will pay for less and it will become more difficult to qualify. It has become more important than at any time in our nation’s history to prepare for the costs of long term care and make use of programs such as long term care insurance, life insurance policy conversions to long term care benefit plans, and other financial vehicles to ensure sufficient private pay dollars are available when the time comes.
As a nation, we have truly arrived at the point where we can no longer kick the can down the road. We have all been enjoying a fantastic dinner party for years but the check is now on the table and everyone has to get out their wallets to help pay. The question for seniors and families faced with long term care expenses—have you prepared for this day (are you even paying attention!?) and do you understand all of your available options to help cover the costs?
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