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January 4, 1999

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The senior boom is one of the central challenges of the coming century. If we face these challenges together and make them our top priorities, if we make the efforts I have described today, then we can prove what no generation in history has had the opportunity to prove -- that the infirmities of age need not be the indignities of age.

President Bill Clinton
January 4, 1999

Today, President Clinton, joined by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and Tipper Gore, will unveil an historic four-part initiative to support Americans of all ages with long-term care needs and the millions of family members who care for them.

Millions Of Americans Need Long-Term Care. Over five million Americans have significant limitations due to illness or disability and require long-term care. Approximately two-thirds of these individuals are older Americans. Millions of adults and a growing number of children have long-term care needs because of health condition from birth or a chronic illness developed later in life and with the number of Americans age 65 and older and 85 or older projected to double by 2030, long-term care is a need that will grow in the 21st Century.

An Historic Initiative To Help Families Care For Those Who Need Long-Term Care. The President is unveiling a four-part initiative that is designed to address the broad-based and varied long-term care needs of Americans. It will: (1) provide immediate support and assistance for the millions of Americans who care for family members with major long-term care needs; (2) educate the elderly and people with disabilities about long-term care issues and options; and (3) promote new promising strategies for long-term care policy for the 21st century. The President is also asking the Vice President to host a series of forums around the nation to raise awareness about the need to support family caregivers and address the growing need for long-term care options. The long-term care proposal being unveiled today by the President and Vice President includes:

  • An historic $1,000 tax credit for families with members who need long-term care. The President is proposing a $1,000 tax credit to support millions of Americans with long-term care needs or the family members who care for and house their ill and disabled relatives. This proposal, which supports rather than supplants family caregiving, would provide needed financial support to about 2 million Americans, including 1.2 million older Americans, over 500,000 non-elderly adults, and approximately 250,000 children;
  • Creating an unprecedented National Family Caregiver Support Program. This new nationwide program, strongly advocated by the Vice President, would support families who care for elderly relatives with chronic illnesses or disabilities by enabling states to create "one-stop-shops" that provide: quality respite care and other support services; critical information about community-based long-term services that best meet a families' needs; and counseling and support, such as teaching model approaches for caregivers that are coping with new responsibilities and offering training for complex care needs;
  • Launching a national campaign to educate Medicare beneficiaries about the programs' limited coverage of long-term care and how best to evaluate their options. Nearly 60 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are unaware that Medicare does not cover most long-term care, and many do not know what long-term care services would best meet their needs. This new, nationwide campaign would provide all 39 million Medicare beneficiaries with critical information about long-term care options including: what long-term care Medicare does and does not cover; how to find out about Medicaid long-term care coverage; what to look for in a quality private long-term care policy; and how to access information about home-and community-based care services that best fit beneficiaries' needs;
  • Offering quality private long-term care insurance to Federal employees. The President is also calling on Congress to pass a new proposal that allows the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to use its market leverage and set a national example by offering non-subsidized, quality private long-term care insurance to all federal employees, retirees, and their families at group rates. OPM anticipates that approximately 300,000 Federal employees would participate in this program.

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