Democrats in the Legislature are ridiculing republican plans to provide a tax credit to Iowans who buy long-term care insurance. Senator Joel Bolkcom, a democrat from Iowa City, says it’s a tax credit that’ll primarily benefit middle and upper income Iowans, and will do nothing to help the elderly who are already in a nursing home. Bolkcom says the state agency that investigates nursing home care has too few staff members, so that each “long term care ombudsman” covers about 19-thousand Iowans. The federal recommendation is for each long term care ombudsman to oversee the care of about one-tenth as many nursing home residents. Bolkcom also ridicules the G-O-P plan to create a “task force” to study how best to help the elderly stay in their homes as long as possible. Bolkcom says rather than talking about talking about seniors, Republicans should have reviewed their record on senior issues and spent more money on the Department of Elder Affairs. The agency’s budget hasn’t gotten a spending increase since 1989. The Department of Elder Affairs’ staff has been cut by 25 percent in the past three years.
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