Kennedy's Healthcare Reform Bill Includes Additional Long-term Care Options

MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media , June 15, 2009

In his health reform legislation, which is called the Affordable Health Choices Act, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), included a provision for long-term care that would provide more healthcare options for elderly and disabled individuals who wish to remain in their homes.

The 615-page bill that was filed last week also aims to reduce healthcare costs, make health insurance more affordable, and improve access to quality care.

"Our healthcare system is a crisis for American families and President Obama and members of Congress of both parties recognize the urgency of the problem. Our goal is to strengthen what works and fix what doesn't," said Kennedy, who is chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Commission. "Much work remains, and the coming days and weeks won't be easy. But we have a unique opportunity to give the American people, at long last, the healthcare they need and deserve."

According to a Senate press release, the five main components of the Affordable Health Choices Act are:

  • Choice: The bill would provide new, more affordable health insurance options for people who are unhappy with their current insurance or do not have insurance. Individuals who like their current healthcare coverage may keep it.
  • Cost reduction: The bill would lower healthcare costs through stronger prevention, better quality of care, information technology, and efforts to reduce fraud and abuse efforts.
  • Prevention: The bill would promote prevention and education efforts and early screening for certain health conditions.
  • Health systems modernization: The bill would work to ensure all healthcare professionals receive adequate training and care is better coordinated.
  • Long-term care and services: The bill would establish support services and programs to assist elderly and disabled people who want to live at home, rather than in an institution.

A draft of the Affordable Health Choices Act can be found on the Resources page of MDSCentral.

MacKenzie Kimball is an associate editor in the long-term care market at HCPro. She writes PPS Alert for Long-term Care and manages MDSCentral.

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