As Louisiana braced for the rains of Tropical Storm Barry on Friday, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) was preparing for another kind of wave — a silver one.
Klobuchar, a candidate for the presidency, released her “Plan for Seniors.” The multi-pronged list of priorities is relatively lengthy, hitting several important points. Not surprisingly, however, it is short on details. The plan, among other things, calls for:
- Committing to “a world-class long-term care workforce” by increasing wages, supporting training, improving job conditions and promoting other recruitment and retention policies.
- Expanding long-term care facilities and beds as well as home care and telehealth services.
- Creating a refundable tax credit to offset long-term care costs, including home- and community-based services and nursing facility care.
- Supporting anti-abuse training for employees at long-term care facilities.
- Changing Medicare through measures such as site-neutral payments, bundled payments and telehealth.
- Supporting Medicare coverage of hearing, vision and dental care.
- Increasing Medicare-covered services for Alzheimer’s.
- Supporting an ongoing investment in public health infrastructure for Alzheimer’s disease, to reduce risk and improve early detection and diagnosis.
- Commiting to preventing, treating and facilitating a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, with the goal of developing a cure and treatment by 2025.
- Fully implementing a law passed last year that is meant to help families locate missing people who have dementia, and establishing federal partnerships with state and local governments to provide dementia training for public-sector workers who interact with older adults with the condition.
- Advocating for the payroll tax for Social Security to apply to wages up to $250,000 rather than the current $133,000, to try to improve the program’s solvency.
- Working to improve Social Security benefits for widows and people who took significant time out of the paid workforce to care for aging parents or others.
- Standing up to efforts to cap Medicaid spending.
- Working to create portable personal savings accounts called Up Accounts that can be used for retirement and emergencies. Employers would set aside for employees at least 50 cents per hour worked.
- Supporting legislation to create paid family leave for those who provide elder care for a family member.
- Reducing the costs of long-term care insurance and increasing access.
Want to know more? You can read the entire published plan here.
The campaign trail is long, and Klobuchar’s chances of winning the nomination remain to be seen — on Thursday, FiveThirtyEight had her in a third tier of candidates with Sen. Cory Booker (NJ), former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Julian Castro and former U.S. representative from Texas Beto O’Rourke, following the top tier with former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and a second tier with Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Klobuchar’s releasing of a plan, however, may compel other candidates to do so as well. Then we’ll all have a better idea of how the industry might fare should a particular person rise to power. But just the fact that Klobuchar’s plan is out there is somewhat encouraging. When was the last time, other than Sanders, perhaps, that you’re heard of a candidate talking about long-term care in a substantive way? Maybe contenders finally are hearing the faint crashing of the silver wave in the distance.