With 80 million baby boomers set to retire over the next few decades, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney and state Sen. Edith Prague are backing a bill that would incentivize the purchase of long-term care insurance.
The two held a press conference Friday to discuss a bill Courtney has proposed that would establish a tax deduction for long-term care premiums. If passed, the tax credit would cover 25 percent of the premiums in 2013, 35 percent in 2014, 65 percent in 2015, and 100 percent in the years after.
“This is going to encourage people to buy long-term care insurance,” said Prague, who has pushed for similar proposals at the state level. “I mean the premiums are very costly.”
The bill would also provide an income tax credit for long-term care providers, which would be based on how many individuals the for which the provider is caring.
Courtney said the Congressional Budget Office hadn’t yet had a chance to do a fiscal analysis of the bill but he said its budgetary impact likely will be outweighed by the savings created as more people by health insurance rather than rely on Medicaid.
“There’s no question that tax credits have an impact on the budget, but I would point out that doing nothing, I think, has an even bigger impact on the budget,” he said.
Both Prague and Courtney said they expect bipartisan support for the proposal.
“We’re all going to grow old and Republicans as well as Democrats have to face up to the issue that the growing elderly population in this country is the fastest growing group in our society,” Prague said. “I can’t believe anyone would be so foolish as to think this is a partisan issue.”
Prague, at 86 years old, is not seeking re-election this year. She joked that she grew old only recently.
“It’s shocking, you know, you wake up one day and all the sudden you have a birthday and you say, ‘Oh my God, how did I get here?’ When I woke up and I was 86 years old, I thought, ‘That’s not me, it can’t be me.’ But bango, it happens,” she said.