October 17, 2005

U.S. Senator Kit Bond (R, MO) addressed some 750 of the nation's leading long-term care insurance producers and industry leaders.   The Senator addressed attendees at the 2005 National LTCi Producers Summit that began today.

Over 725 attendees at this year's National LTCi Producers Summit heard from U.S. Senator Kit Bond (R. MO) this morning, the first time a United States Senator has addressed a national gathering of long-term care insurance producers.

The following are excerpts from the Senator's address to the Summit audience:

I am here today to speak to you about something that we hope affects all of us, that is getting older.   Getting older may not be a prize but it sure beats whatever is in second place.

America faces a real challenge in health care and long-term care services as our population grows older.   Whether we are family members, government officials, insurers or taxpayers, the question is the same for all of us; how are we going to take care of people without going broke?

I know I am standing here facing a group of the top long-term care insurance sales people in America.   So, let me put your mind at ease.   I have already long ago bought a long-term care (insurance) policy for my wife and myself.   I am already sold.

This is time for all of us to face the challenge squarely.   We can't keep putting it off until tomorrow.

Planning for the later stages in life is more important than ever.   Relatively few families can afford to pay for all the care necessary without impoverishing themselves or relyi9ng on family members to pay the bill.    And, once a person is sick, it's too late for them to buy affordable long-term care insurance.

Planning ahead and investing in long-term care insurance allows individuals to control the future -- our future -- to be prepared.   It helps us protect personal savings and preserve potential freedom to choose where and how long-term care is received.

Long-term care insurance policies make it possible to maintain your independence, preserve your quality of life and stay at home as long as possible, protecting assets and savings and avoiding being a financial burden on our families.

We need to do a better job now however, preparing baby boomers and future generations for what may be ahead and how they are going to be ready. Congress is looking at various options.

Working with my colleague Senator Barbara Mikulski (D, MD) of Maryland have worked together on an important piece of legislation called the Ronald Reagan Alzheimer's Breakthrough and Prevention Act.

Our hope is that this bill will strengthen the existing framework and incentives and be a living tribute to Ronald Reagan. It will double research funding for Alzheimer's Research.

It will support caregivers. Finally, it will make long-term care insurance more affordable and more accessible for American families by allowing all taxpayers to deduct the cost of long-term care insurance from their taxes.

Make no mistake about it. This is a difficult time with the budget constraints; to get something through that provides more tax relief. I happen to believe that tax relief has helped our economy recover from the recession of 2000-2001 and has strengthened our ability to encourage entrepreneurship.

Providing a tax deductibility for long-term care insurance will go a long way toward reducing the prospective cost of federally-sponsored health care for the aging. There are a lot of nay sayers arguing that Americans can't afford the increase. But, when you look at the reality, we can not afford not to do so because only by taking well advised steps like this can we avoid the tremendous burdens that the long-term care of an increasing large elderly population will put on our Federal assistance budget.

President Reagan's impact on our nation and his leadership along with Nancy Reagan's leadership in the fight against Alzheimer's and its debilitating effects will endure. It's our hope that we can honor his memory by helping millions more.

Certainly, developing the solutions that meet the needs of the aging population and those who care for them is the right thing to do. I commend you for your work and your efforts here. I look forward to continuing our good working relationship in this area in the months and years ahead.

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