Democratic Presidential Candidate Edwards Announces 10-Year, $3.5 Billion Long-Term Care Proposal
Presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) on Thursday announced a 10-year, $3.5 billion proposal to improve long-term care for seniors, the AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Speaking at a senior center in Des Moines, Iowa, Edwards proposed greater enforcement of care standards at nursing homes; an increase in federal funding to home respite care programs from $500 million to $1 billion; improved wages and working conditions for nursing home employees; and the elimination of regulatory complications for states attempting to develop unique approaches to improving long-term care, such as tax credits or long-term care insurance. Edwards said the proposal would not just benefit seniors, noting that an increasing number of people care for their parents while also raising their children. "It's an issue for all generations," Edwards said, adding, "No family should go broke or break down caring for parents, and every health care worker should treat patients with dignity and be treated with the same dignity by employers" (Glover, AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10/23).
Meanwhile, Edwards on Wednesday also announced several proposals related to Internet pharmacies, which he alleged practice price-gouging and unsafe health practices, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Edwards, speaking at one of seven campaign stops in Iowa, said Internet pharmacies have "hoarded scarce drugs" and sold them at elevated prices to hospitals and consumers, the News & Observer reports. In addition, Edwards said he was concerned about pharmaceutical vendors that fail to properly handle the drugs they sell and about the lack of safeguards on painkiller sales. "There have been some real abuses going on and people have been taken advantage of. What we need to do is crack down on these people," Edwards said. In response, Edwards proposed developing model standards for state pharmacy regulators and offering grants of up to $500,000 to help states implement those standards; directing the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Internet pharmacies' alleged deceptive trade practices; and making it a federal crime to knowingly advertise or fill false prescriptions over the Internet (Raleigh News & Observer, 10/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.