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AAHSA Statement on Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing, 'Health Reform in an Aging America'
Date:3/4/2009

WASHINGTON, March 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) applauds the Senate Special Committee on Aging and its chair, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), for focusing its hearing on how long-term services and support must be a part of health care reform this year. Long-term services and supports are the neglected grandparent of the healthcare crisis in America. The needs are great. The costs are high. Insurance coverage is nearly non-existent. This makes it simply unaffordable to care.

A consensus on the need for financing reform is emerging among many organizations that represent elders and people with disabilities. All agree that a program must promote consumer choice and personal responsibility while offering broad access. Recently, the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) and the Coordinating Council for Disabilities (CCD) jointly endorsed principles reflecting these beliefs. Together, the two coalitions represent more than 150 organizations of elders, people with disabilities and providers of health, housing and supportive services.

In the last two Congresses, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or CLASS Act. This legislation closely aligns with the principles endorsed by the LCAO and the CCD. We urge the inclusion of similar provisions in any health reform legislation this Congress considers.

Every family faces the potential costs of long-term services and supports, and every family needs a structure for personal planning with the protection of a public program as well. AAHSA and its members look forward to working with Congress and the Administration on a comprehensive and badly-needed reform of our entire health care system that will address long-term services and supports and make it affordable to care.

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SOURCE American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
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