Senate Panel OKs Veterans Long-Term Care Bill

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Congress could make it easier for veterans to get long-term care at home.

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee has approved S. 141, the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act bill.

The bill — which was introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and has two Democratic co-sponsors — includes many provisions that could help veterans get care outside of nursing homes.

What It Means

S. 141 is an important bill to watch for any financial professional with retirement planning or long-term care planning clients who have served in the armed forces.

The Bill

S. 141 is named after the late Elizabeth Dole, who was the wife of the late Sen. Robert Dole; an elected senator from North Carolina; a federal agency head in the Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations; and head of the American Red Cross.

Today, federal law limits payments for home care for veterans to 65% of the cost of nursing home care.

S. 141 would:

Eliminate the limit on home care costs.
Test the idea of providing a home health aide program for veterans in communities without many home health aides.
Set up a home care and community-based care program resource website for veterans.
Let veterans get home care through civilian Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly programs, or PACE programs.

The History

S. 141 is the new version of a bill in the previous congress, H.R. 6823, that had 47 Democratic co-sponsors and seven Republican co-sponsors.

H.R. 6823 passed in the Veterans’ Affairs Committee but failed to reach the House floor.