Dec 1, 2009

Showtime on the Senate Floor

C-SPAN fans, it's showtime! Time to plop into your easy chair, prop your feet, pop up the popcorn. The health care reform bill has moved to the floor of the Senate, where it will be vigorously debated for many weeks. For newshounds, this is like the Oscars and Emmys rolled into one.

The debate is an attention-getter for anyone interested in aging-related issues, too. I don't have the luxury of plopping, propping and popping to C-SPAN too often, but I am following certain parts of the debate particularly closely. For example, the Senate version, like the House version, would provide increased protections for seniors from abuse, including financial abuse. Protecting seniors from financial abuse belongs in the health bill, advocates argue, because senior victimes of economic crimes are more likely to end up indigent and dependent on publicly funded health benefits. Other elements of the proposed bill include more stringent background checks for those working with the elderly; a requirement that long-term care workers report possible abuse; and the creation of an entity in the Department of Health and Human Resources to oversee joint state-federal anti-abuse efforts.

And then there's CLASS -- the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act. This proposed program would create a national, long-term care insurance trust that workers would pay into. After a vesting period they could pull out cash benefits in an amount correlated with degree of disability. Another important aspect of CLASS is that it would expand Medicaid coverage to more home-based and community-based long-term care.

The truth is, this is a "show" we're going to be watching for some time, and not your typical TV sitcom. It won't idily end in half an hour, and the outcome isn't predictable. C-SPAN fans and the rest of us will just have to keep watching. Pass the popcorn.


brit446 said...

Yes this is sure to be a heated debate and we can only hope that the conclusion is one that improves our nation's health care system for all Americans. As you stated, let the show begin!

stacbs6 said...

I hope that the debate will end on the positive side for us citizens who realize we need health reform in this country. It is going to be a hard fought battle but we need to bring ourselves into the 21st century along with most of Europe, Canada and most other countries in the world.

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