In May 2005, a U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health concluded that the rising cost of long-term health care, coupled with the impending surge of Baby Boomer retirees, could cripple the country financially unless changes are made.Testifying before the subcommittee, Dr. Judy Feder, dean of public policy at Georgetown University, stated that in the years ahead, just 30 percent of post-65-year-olds will die without needing long-term care. Twenty percent of that age group will require more than five years of care.

Long-term care can be defined as continuous, skilled nursing care, as well as custodial care to assist with daily living activities. Long-term care can last for a few months, a year, several years, or indefinitely.

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