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“Notable Quotables”
  Excerpts from “And Thou Shalt Honor National Caregiving Town Hall Meeting”

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Town Hall Meeting

Notable Quotables

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Senator Kit Bond (R-Missouri)
“There are no magic wands. But I think for the long term it is absolutely essential we put the money into research.”

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California)
“This is a very opportune time to call attention to the way we treat our elderly. Social Security is 70 years old, the Old American Act is 40 years old so we really have an opportunity now to see whether or not our actions match our rhetoric.”

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York)
“It’s either someone in a nursing home or someone in their home. It’s either a paid professional or an unpaid family member. And isn’t it smarter, better, more reflective of our values to help keep people at home if that’s their choice and to support the families that are doing that.”

Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
“Congress is going to have to debate the future of Medicaid because the unintended consequence of the current Medicaid system was to strip state treasuries of money to care for their sick and their elderly and their impoverished. And that was not the intent in the beginning.”

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)
“We’re finding a very unique situation that’s never happened in American society before. We’ve got elderly people living longer and we have people in their 40’s and 50’s taking care of elderly people at the very same time they’re sending their kids to college. Very unique situation, probably go on for another 20, 25 years could be. So what we’re trying to do is to help seniors be prepared for retirement to a greater extent so that they’re less dependent upon family.”

Congresswoman Nancy Johnson (R-Connecticut)
“We need to have states be able to plan how they use their Medicaid money to keep people at home, to keep people in assisted living and only as a last resort when it’s appropriate, to support people in a nursing home. The states could also qualify families as caregivers. So, we need that flexibility.”

Dr. Mark McClellan, Administrator, CMS
“We need to keep in mind that the focus should be on how to get the best possible care and support for an individual at the lowest possible cost. The best way to do that is to involve the beneficiary and their caregivers and their family members in choosing how to get services. Not to tell them they have to fit into a one-size-fits-all program.”

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)
“Putting families first, and believe that when we say honor your father and your mother, we should put it in the Federal checkbook, and we should put it in the community.”

Congressman Pete Stark (D-California)
“Prevention can be a marvelous goal, but it can be a terribly disingenuous thing to hold out to a population. It’s like holding out a Big Mac to the starving person who has no way to reach across the divide and get that food. So, if you don’t have access to that care, just have the Secretary of Health & Human Services to say prevention is a good thing, who would deny that? But the fact is over 40 million Americans are denied that because we don’t have a program to see that they’re included in the, quote, system.”

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio)
“You need to talk to your legislator or talk to your administrator, understand what’s out there and understand what it is you could do to make a difference on behalf of your seniors in your neighborhood, but at some point, yourself.”

Fmr. Governor of Nebraska, Mike Johanns, now Secretary of Agriculture
“The town hall meeting, I think, is a great opportunity for governors to renew a plea that we have made to Washington a number of times and that is for them to create bipartisan working groups on these issues. We are all in this together. We have a 400 Billion dollar federal deficit and it’s very real, it is very real. These human issues are there and they are equally as real. We have to work together on these issues.”

Governor Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho
“In the state of Idaho, when talk about the finances, we’ve provided this year 100% tax deductibility if the individuals will go and purchase as part of their healthcare insurance, long-term care. I’d love to see the federal government match that.”

Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon
“What this country needs, it does need a universal healthcare system. It is a right of every American to access to healthcare. And if we do that this must be a national policy. For God’s sake, if we can spend billions going to Mars, we can surely spend enough to see that every American has healthcare. It is a federal priority and that’s where it has to start. The rest of us are partners with the federal government.”

Fmr. Governor Gary Locke of Washington
“We need a national policy that encourages and provides healthcare to every American in this country. But we need leadership and we need direction from the General Government because as we’ve seen and heard, all the states are trying to do something totally different and that is so, so very expensive.”

Governor Mike Rounds of South Dakota
“We sit in these meetings and I’ve sometimes wondered how it can be that we can get along as well as we do, as Republicans and Democrats, and we go through the issues here and yet when it comes time for Washington to step forward, we can’t get a transportation bill out, we can’t get an energy bill out.”

Robert Blancato, President, Matz, Blancato & Associates
“[Elders] are for a lot of things. They are for the history and preservation and teaching of young people. They’re also for contributing to society as they go on. So I think they have as much value as they get older as they did when they were growing up.”

Gail Gibson Hunt, President of the National Alliance for Caregiving
“Part of the issue is it’s easier to let the family caregivers do this job than it is to deal with the financial issue of paying for long-term care in the home. I think that Congress is petrified at what would happen if they really started to pay for caregiving in the home, paying family caregivers for example, and they look at baby boomers who are going to be turning 65 in what, at 2010. What the implication of that would be.”

Suzanne Mintz, President, National Family Caregivers Association
“When Medicare began in the 60’s it was an acute care program dealing with people in their 60’s with acute care problems and today it is dealing with people in their 80’s and their 90’s who have chronic care issues. We need to look at what are the healthcare issues of today and project the ones of tomorrow.”

Dr. Bill Thomas, Founder, The Eden Alternative, The GreenHouse Project
“We need to remember when the commandment says and thou shalt honor, that that honor is a social, society wide obligation and that honoring our elders and others who are in need of care is one way of representing really the best of what our society has to offer. And I think too often we wind up with sort of interest group politics that pit this group against that group and really what we’re looking at here is really fundamental elements in civilized human society and we need to embrace that.”