A new poll suggests the public would like to see long-term care reform included in any congressional remake of the health system. While many respondents were concerned about their ability to pay for care, their biggest interest was in better coverage for home and community supports that could keep them out of nursing homes.

The survey, done by Lake Research Partners for the California-based SCAN Foundation, reported that 92 percent felt it was important to improve home-based services, and 80 percent said they’d be more likely to back a health reform bill that did that. 

More than two-thirds said it is important to improve insurance coverage for home-based services. However, they did not say whether that coverage should be provided by private carriers or government insurance.

Whether, and how, the public is willing to pay for better home and community services will be critical to the future of any congressional debate over long-term care. Americans have made it clear they want more acute medical care at no extra cost–an impossible demand. If they feel the same way about long-term care, it is hard to see lawmakers making much progress toward reform.