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The CLASS Act Avoids Repeal

by , Published On: Nov 04, 2011

On Nov. 2, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) tried to have the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act repealed by “unanimous consent,” but this effort was blocked by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). 

"Those who are gloating today about the administration’s decision not to carry forward with the class act are not the fiscal heroes they make themselves out to be," Rockefeller said. "They have no answers. They have no answers. They have no alternative."

We at LeadingAge agree. If not the CLASS Act, then what? Without an alternative, how else will our country solve the crisis of paying for long-term services and supports? The CLASS Act passed because it is the right thing for America to do, and, according to a 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard poll, it is what 76% of Americans want.

As Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) pointed out in an opinion piece for Politico, by implementing the CLASS Act, "we can reduce entitlement spending through Medicaid — and provide American families with greater financial security."

"Relying on Medicaid is unsustainable and costly. It essentially encourages seniors to spend themselves into poverty to qualify for Medicaid," Rep. Deutch added. "Having heard from seniors facing foreclosure due to their spouses’ nursing home expenses, and families desperate for a way to provide care to their ailing parents, I cannot accept just abandoning the CLASS Act."

We commend Rep. Deutch and Sen. Rockefeller for cutting through the politicizing of the CLASS Act, and standing up for a program the helps pays for long-term services and supports, something that most families will face and nobody wants to talk about. Instead of repealing CLASS, we should be working to develop and implement CLASS in a way that is affordable, actuarially sound and sustainable.


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