Dems Offer Mixed Views On CLASS Act’s Demise
But during a Wednesday congressional hearing, Department of Health and Human Services officials made clear that they really have stopped implementing the health law's long-term care insurance program, despite continuing pleas to give it another chance.
The Hill: Second Democrat Says He'll Support Repeal Of CLASS Health Program
Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah) on Wednesday became the first Democrat to publicly support repealing the health care reform law's CLASS program since the administration announced it was indefinitely suspending the program. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) previous had sponsored legislation with two Republicans in March that would repeal the program (Baker, 10/26).
CQ HealthBeat: Democrat Dings Obama Administration For Abandoning CLASS Program
Obama administration officials said Wednesday they don't want to see a controversial long-term care program repealed but don't intend to implement it, either, confounding even congressional allies. At a hearing, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's health subcommittee sharply criticized Health and Human Services officials for dropping implementation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) program. Frank Pallone Jr. said he does not agree that HHS has completed its work. And the ranking Democrat, Henry A. Waxman of California, insisted that the program has not been canceled but "simply stands in recess" (Norman, 10/26).
The Hill: Dems Resist GOP Calls To Repeal CLASS Act
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) clashed with Health and Human Services (HHS) officials Wednesday over their decision not to implement the health care law's CLASS program. Pallone said HHS shouldn't "play into the same negative theme" as Republicans who say the health care law is unworkable. The department should not have given up on the CLASS program, he argued, despite an actuarial report that said the program couldn't be implemented in accordance with the health care law's requirements (Baker, 10/26).
Modern Healthcare: CLASS Conflict May Be Far From Over
In a hearing Wednesday of two House subcommittees, Democrats tried to resuscitate the CLASS Act while Republicans called for repealing the long-term-care insurance program embedded in the health reform law that HHS has suspended. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, flatly disagreed with HHS's decision on Oct. 14 not to implement the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act. He also pressed Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging and former administrator of CLASS, for the administration to appoint the 15-member advisory council of stakeholders to CLASS that the law requires. According to Pallone, HHS has received more than 140 nominations to this panel (Zigmond, 10/26).
Politico Pro: HHS Officials Say They Won't Revisit CLASS
In case there was any doubt, HHS officials insisted Wednesday that they really have stopped implementing health reform's long-term care insurance program — even when a top House Democrat suggested that they should give it another chance. "We are most sincere in saying we have suspended implementation" of the CLASS Act, Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee said at a joint hearing of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittees on health and oversight. "I do not want to send a mixed message by saying we are continuing to work on CLASS when we are not" (Norman, 10/26).