Democratic Candidate Buttigieg Unveils Plans for Long-Term Care and Social Security

Dec 3, 2019 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

Last week, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg released plans for long-term care, Social Security, and “public option” 401(k) plans. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, released the plan shortly before a roundtable with people affected by long-term care. He described his own experience as his father neared the end of his life—Buttigieg and his mother sat down with a social worker, who encouraged them to consider spending all the money they could until his parents qualified for low-income benefits under Medicaid.

Buttigieg’s plan would establish a $90 per day benefit for long-term care for as long as recipients need it, after an income-related waiting period. It would a be a cash benefit that could be used help pay for assisted-living facilities or home health aides. He would also mandate Medicaid coverage for home- and community-based service provider, with the hope of keeping people who need that care in their communities.

The plan also includes reforms to Social Security, including increasing benefits to 125% of the federal poverty limit to people who worked or were a caregiver for 30 years. He proposes paying for it by raising the income cap on the taxes that pay for Social Security benefits from the current $137,700 to individual incomes above $250,000. This would also help to maintain the program’s solvency.

Buttigieg would also establish a “public option” 401(k) program. It would require employers to chip in a 3% match to workers’ accounts after a 1.5% contribution from the worker. It would contain two pre-tax savings accounts: One for retirement specifically and a “Rainy Day Account” that allows some money to be used for any reason and without penalty. The public option 401(k) would first be available to large corporations and scale down over its life to smaller employers. Employers who offer defined-benefit pensions or retirement benefits similar to the public option 401(k) would be exempt.

You can find the full article in the Des Moines Register.


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