The high cost of nursing home care for elderly and disabled persons is being addressed by the Senate. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) and Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and David Pryor (D-AR) are drafting the $40 billion plan, which will be attached to another bill widening access to health insurance.
The plan is based on a bipartisan proposal to provide 3 months of government-backed nursing home care, extend coverage of home health care, and encourage the purchase of long-term care insurance. The proposal was originally introduced in September 1990 by the Pepper Commission.
Although the bill's chances look bleak because it is tied to the health access plan, the sponsors are optimistic. Polls consistently show that Americans are interested in help with long-term care costs. Private coverage of such costs is minimal, and the senators are hoping to gain support by imposing federal controls on longterm care insurance [The Nation's Health 1992; 22(2):4J.