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Fund the Long Term Care Act and ensure elderly Washingtonians have the help they need as they age—including bathing, dressing, toileting, and eating.Committee to Approve 8212
The Long-Term Care Trust fund will help families pay for critical services with a benefit of up to $36,500 and will adjust for inflation. The fund is available to Washingtonians once they need assistance with three or more regular daily activities such as eating, bathing, or help with medications and have vested into the program.AARP Washington
(REVISED FOR ENGROSSED: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution concerning the investment of funds to provide for long-term care services and supports. )Washington State Legislature
- The Spokesman Review: Should Washington invest nursing home funds in private stocks? Voters will decide in Senate Joint Resolution 8212.
This resolution landed on the ballot only because it would amend the state constitution. The constitution prohibits investing public money in the stock market or private companies. SJR8212 would create an exemption for the state Long Term Care Trust Fund.
The fund is the result of a 2019 law that created a long-term care insurance program. Washingtonians can pay premiums to ensure they have money for critical assistance with regular daily activity when they need it in old age.
The challenge is making sure the fund stays solvent, especially given that the long-term care benefit is indexed to inflation. To that end, the state would like to invest those holdings so they can grow over time. The public should have the opportunity to grow these dollars over time the same way the private sector would, saving the public some cost as the principal value grows.
The writers of the Washington Constitution were understandably leery of investing public dollars in private markets. Modern investing is nothing like it was in 1889, though. That’s why the constitution already exempts several other funds including public pensions and industrial insurance.
A Yes vote on SJR8212 will give a stronger financial footing to a program that will help many Washingtonians as they grow older.
We urge voters to approve the constitutional amendment, Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution 8212 .
This measure would allow the state’s Long Term Care Trust Fund to invest in the stock market.
The state constitution generally prohibits state and local government from investing in the stock of private companies.
But voters have previously approved exemptions for any public pension or retirement fund, the industrial insurance trust fund and money held in trust for the benefit of people with developmental disabilities, according to the explanatory statement in the Voters’ Pamphlet written by the state Attorney General’s Office.
The reason is simple. These funds need to grow in value over time so they can meet the needs of those who count on the funds for benefits.
That’s the case here with the investment to grow the Long Term Care Trust Fund. This fund was established by the Legislature last year to provide money for long-term care insurance. Under that law, employees will pay premiums for state-sponsored long-term care benefits through a payroll deduction, beginning January 1, 2022. Benefits will start being paid out in 2025.
The trust will be overseen by an independent commission.
Allowing this type of investment, which will be prudently managed, makes sense.
The measure was approved 45-3 in the Senate and 96-1 in the House. Voters should approve it on Nov. 3.
To make the most of Washington’s new public long-term care insurance program, voters should approve Engrossed Senate Joint Resolution 8212.
The constitutional amendment will allow the state to invest long-term care trust fund money in the stock market. In previous years, voters have approved similar investments of funds for public pensions, workers’ compensation and the ABLE Savings Plan for people with disabilities.
Investing the long-term care fund similarly is a commonsense idea approved by both legislative chambers with little opposition. In the House of Representatives only Rep. Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, voted against the bill that put the question to voters. In the Senate, Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Whatcom County, Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, and Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, voted no.
Without the change, state leaders will be limited to investing the fund’s balance in lower-yield bonds and certificates of deposit, as is allowed under the constitution. The change does involve some risk, which is the chief concern of the measure’s few opponents. But there are safeguards in place to protect the fund from harm.