The U.S. House of Representatives has hammered another nail in the coffin of the CLASS Act. A House subcommittee recently voted to repeal the law that the Obama administration had hoped would provide financial relief for seniors and people with long-term disabilities. The committee member from Wisconsin voted against repeal.
The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act was structured a little like an insurance plan. Enrollees would have paid a monthly premium in return for a minimum benefit of $50 a day when the need for long-term care arose.
For seniors, the program would have closed a serious benefit gap. Currently, Medicare does not cover long-term care benefits. A senior may opt for private coverage, which can be expensive, or may simply pay cash for the care. When all the cash is spent, and the senior reaches a level of poverty, Medicaid coverage could kick in.
The repeal is not entirely based on party politics. While Republicans have been vocal critics of the White House’s health care plan, which the CLASS Act is a part of, they also point to the administration’s statement this fall that the program was unsustainable. Officials said they could find no way to make the program self-supporting in the long run.
However, Democrats in both the House and the Senate have urged their colleagues not to repeal the law without devising a way to serve the 21 million Americans in need of long-term care. One proposal would have called on an independent panel to study and to recommend ways to restructure the program.
The subcommittee’s action is not the last word. The entire committee must vote, and the repeal must be approved by both the House and the Senate.
Source: Washington Times, “House votes to repeal Obama’s CLASS Act,” Paige Winfield Cunningham, Nov. 30, 2011
Alan Olson writes this web-log to provide helpful information regarding long-term disability cases. He practices long-term disability law throughout the United States from his offices in New Berlin, Wisconsin. Attorney Olson may be contacted at [email protected] with questions about the information posted here or for advice on specific disability benefit claims.