Mr. Brad Klippert
I know you are extremely interested in balancing the budget.
My idea is if something is changed with the senior citizens and nursing home care provided by the state then with some other ideas the state budget can be balanced.
1) Pass I-1043 Illegal immigrants initiative to the people. Judge just signed off with the attorneys on the final wording on Friday. Savings is $1 Billion for the biennium.
2) Cut the aide to children for medical insurance in half. This aide has increased in recent years from $2 Billion to around over $4 Billion. This increase is mainly from increasing the parents level of income for qualifying a child for acceptance into the program. Cutting this number in half will save $2 Billion for the biennium. Savings now total is $3 Billion.
3) Implement all of Brian Sonntag’s, State Auditor Performance Audits. I do not see the exact number now on the State Auditor’s website but this should be a little bit over or around $3 Billion. Although savings may not be fully achieved until later years it is the start of the process. The Port of Seattle has implemented some of the savings and the employee morale has increase substantially at the same time. Total savings of around $6 Billion.
4) Senior citizens pay for their own Nursing Home care. If the senior citizens pay $2.5 Billion for nursing home care paid out of their social security checks in the amount of $150 per month starting at age 65 then this could balance the budget. This is the area of the numbers which I am trying to gather together at the present time. Total savings of around $8.5 Billion for the biennium.
Oh, this balances the budget with a little bit of change.
Actually the idea is to help in the process to balance the budget and also start to get the state out of the business of providing free nursing home care. The state should not be in the business of providing welfare medical coverage. The CFP and present legal method is to have individuals who can pay to not have senior nursing home insurance but to have the money come out of current earnings. Edward Jones security advisors say this is with an equity of $3.5 million or more for an individual. But previously about 15 years ago I was informed that one with $300,000 to $650,000 in assets would not be able to be on the state without draining their bank accounts and assets nor be able to self finance. This was when the high end of nursing home care was $55,000 per year. The amount is about $8-9,000 per month at the present time. Below this level the state would provide coverage. The strategy for the two lower levels was to get your assets over to an irrevocable trust within 35 months of entering a nursing home or to pay for nursing home insurance for a better quality of life and nursing home care. My idea would be to get people to pay 15% of their social security income starting at age 65. The senior citizen recipient could opt out of the state system by paying for their own nursing home insurance. Notifications would go out at around age 60 and once per year until age 65 to the senior citizens. Eventually virtually no one except for the very low income senior citizen would be on state assistance.
I was in your office on the Tuesday of the start of the full day the legislature with Craig Keller and Albert Pong. You put the I-409/I-1043 information in a box of ideas to balance the budget. How about $8.5 Billion savings for balancing the budget.
I have one idea which if put together with other ideas I have will balance the State budget. But I need a little bit more information in order to see if my idea will be viable. It would require changing the law though.
The idea which I am exploring will lessen the stress on the families of the senior citizens.
What I am trying to find out now is how many senior citizens there are in Washington State at or over 65 years of age. My initial findings from the www.ssa.gov website indicate there are 34 million. 91% are receiving social security benefits. This means that 9% are waiting to the age 70 1/2 to start withdrawing SS benefits.
While studying for the financial planner, I noticed some drastic financial mutations which have to be gone through for the retirement planning process. I also realize the State is in a financial crisis. Mixing my ideas together like a pencil with an eraser I have come up with another idea and one which might help in solving the budget deficit.
1) How many senior citizens are there in Washington State.
2) How much does each one receive in social security benefits on average. The ssa.gov website says $2715 per month but this number does not connect with what I have been seeing on tax returns. For Washington State.
3) How many senior citizens are on full state nursing home care which is subsidized by the state.
4) How many total senior citizens are in Washington and on nursing home care.
5) Same last two questions but related to in-home care.
6) How much is the average cost of nursing home care for senior citizens.
7) What is the average cost of nursing home care by the state for senior citizens.
8) What is the average duration of care for state recipients and other private pay recipients.
9) What is the average age of the starting of nursing home care for senior citizens in Washington State. This would be for Washington State recipients and private pay recipients counted separately.
Thanking you in advance for your prompt and courteous response to the email.
Keith Ljunghammar, EA