By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

A little health care with tax extensions

All WhatchamaColumns

Have you read much about the new federal Commission on Long-Term Care? Pay attention, all you Baby Boomers, this law’s for you.

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know about it ... the statutory authorization was buried in Section 643 of House Resolution 8, the “Tax Relief Extension Act” passed by Congress in the wee hours of New Year’s Day this week.

Here’s the mission of the commission:

“Develop a plan for the establishment, implementation and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports for individuals in need of such services and supports, including elderly individuals, individuals with substantial cognitive or functional limitations, other individuals who require assistance to perform activities of daily living, and individuals desiring to plan for future long-term care needs.”

Sound like a challenge? Not too tough, I guess, since within 6 months of when the 15 commission members are appointed, they must vote on “a comprehensive and detailed report based on the long-term care plan … that contains any recommendations or proposals for legislative or administrative action.”

We’ll need a stable of CPAs and tax attorneys to describe all the financial ramifications of HR 8. It will take a horde of health care experts to explain whatever comes from that new Commission on Long-Term Care. But anyone with a keen eye for details can pick out the unrelated pork hanging from the pages of most congressional bills.

People shuddered in October at the story of a 69-year-old Oregon pig farmer who was eaten by huge hogs he raised. But after watching the unraveling of the 112th Congress, we might not be so squeamish if somehow, our leaders were eaten by their own pork.

There were rumors that concerns about pork provisions caused Tuesday’s GOP flame-out over the Superstorm Sandy financial aid bill. It was the most vitriolic display of inner-party politics we’ve seen in recent memory, but probably already forgotten by the time this article hits the website on Thursday.

For the record, HR 8 passed the Senate 89-8 and the House 257-167. It extended so many complex tax provisions that, to date, no media source has come remotely close to explaining all it does. Senators reportedly received the 154-page bill three minutes before the vote, but reading bills really isn’t part of their job description anyway.

If you care to read it, here’s a link:

Let me know what it all means.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@news or 503-687-1223.

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS