NIC CEO Robert G. Kramer

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care will be making a “major commitment” to studying the demand for middle-market seniors housing, NIC CEO Robert G. Kramer announced Thursday at the organization’s 2017 Spring Investment Forum in San Diego.

“It’s those whose income and assets are too much for them to qualify for Medicaid or other government support programs, but they don’t make enough to be able to afford to live in our communities, or at least for very long,” he told those attending a luncheon featuring former Sens. Tom Daschle and Bill Frist.

A “large” grant from NIC will support a study by independent social research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, Kramer said. He did not specify a dollar amount for the grant but said that NIC would announce additional details soon.

“This is an opportunity to serve this population, but first you have to understand who they are, what are their economic, demographic and psychographic characteristics, as well as what is their health and functional status,” Kramer said. “We’re going to be looking at all of that and then projecting that out for the next 20 years to see how that changes and what that cohort looks like.”

The study will not determine a solution or “perfect product” to serve the middle market, Kramer said.

Healthcare reform

Daschle and Frist took their places on the dais minutes after the House of Representatives delayed a vote on the proposed American Health Care Act — on the seventh anniversary of the day that President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.

Daschle, a Democrat from South Dakota, and Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, predicted that the ACA replacement bill ultimately will pass along party lines. History shows that if the legislation doesn’t have support from both political parties, however, then passage won’t be the end of the matter, they said.

“My absolute confidence is, if we don’t find legislation to pass on a bipartisan basis, we will come back and revisit it and revisit it until we do,” Daschle said. “When you rush to make decisions about things this complicated and this broad in its repercussions and ramifications for the country, you’re almost forced to come back to undo the mistakes you made by making it happen so quickly.”

Frist agreed. “If it’s passed with only 50% of the people in the bodies [of Congress] themselves, you’re not going to get it right, because it’s so complicated,” he said.

Even with a majority supporting a bill, lawmakers often must go back and “iterate, fix, amend,” Frist said. “And it takes years to get it right. We saw it with Medicare. We saw it with Medicaid. We still don’t have it right. But if it’s passed in a very partisan way, that door [for negotiation and progress] closes down.”

Photo by John O’Connor.

Update, April 10: NIC said that the middle-market seniors housing study will last 18 months and that results will be shared at a national event in mid- to late 2018.