For those interested in long-term care, the House Democrats’ consensus health reform bill is pretty disappointing. Unlike the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee version, it includes no proposal for national long-term care insurance. And it largely ignores efforts to expand access to home care for those on Medicaid, who now often can only get care in nursing facilities, or to better coordinate care for those receiving both Medicaid and Medicare benefits.

Key House Democrats, including Representative Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), are long-time supporters of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s plan to provide national long-term care insurance (the CLASS Act). Still, the draft is silent on the issue. Similarly, despite strong Democratic support for efforts to enhance Medicaid home care, the proposal calls for little more than studies. Better than nothing, I suppose, but not by much. 

I expect lawmakers will attempt to add some long-term care provisions to the House draft, which will be considered by three committees over the next few weeks, For those of us looking for help caring for our parents, it will be interesting to see how they fare.