Confusion Reigns After Obama Administration Suspends CLASS
Even though the White House signaled that the long-term insurance program will not be implemented, President Barack Obama made clear yesterday that he is opposed to the measure's repeal. Meanwhile, the decision to suspend the plan from going forward has left many experts to ask what's next in the effort to address the nation's long-term care issues.
The Associated Press: After Saying Long-Term Care Plan Isn't Workable, White House Says It Doesn't Support Repeal
The White House appeared to waffle Monday on the fate of a financially troubled long-term care program in President Barack Obama's health overhaul law, as supporters and foes heaped criticism on the administration (10/17).
The Hill: Obama Opposes Repeal Of Health Care Program Suspended Last Week
President Obama is against repealing the health law's long-term-care CLASS Act and might veto Republican efforts to do so, an administration official tells The Hill, despite the government's announcement Friday that the program was dead in the water. "We do not support repeal," the official said Monday. "Repealing the CLASS Act isn't necessary or productive. What we should be doing is working together to address the long-term care challenges we face in this country" (Pecquet, 10/17).
Modern Healthcare: CLASS Repeal Would Have No Effect: CBO
The Congressional Budget Office will assume the long-term care insurance program included in last year's health care reform law is defunct when calculating baseline budget projections that will be issued in January, CBO Director Douglas Elmdendorf said in a blog post. Elmdendorf wrote that his office received several inquiries about the budgetary implications after the news from HHS on Friday that the agency will not implement the CLASS Act. In its February estimate on efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the CBO determined that the program would save about $86 billion over a decade (Zigmond, 10/17).
Reuters: What Next For Long-Term Care After CLASS Act Folds?
The federal government threw in the towel on creating a public option for long-term care coverage last week, and that would seem to be definitive for now. In defeat, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was doing the right thing in admitting the concept's flaws and cutting the government's losses of the proposal, which was a lesser-known component of the new health reform law. It was an attempt to expand the number of Americans with long-term care coverage by providing a basic, inexpensive LTC option deployed mainly through the workplace as an opt-out choice in benefit plans (Miller, 10/17).
Politico Pro: CLASS Advocates Say Program Isn't Dead
The whole world may believe the CLASS Act is dead, but advocates for the government-backed long-term care insurance program say the White House is privately pushing back against media reports of the program's demise. In the aftermath of the administration's decision on Friday to halt implementation of the CLASS Act, a White House official reached out to the program's advocates to blunt media reports that the program is dead, according to two of those advocates. Connie Garner, of Advance CLASS, said advocates are "thoroughly confused" about where the program stands at this point. The Congressional Budget Office's decision Monday morning to assume the CLASS Act will not be implemented only added to that confusion (Millman, 10/17).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Obama Administration Left Long-Term Care Puzzle Unsolved, Advocates Say
On Friday, the Obama administration nixed the CLASS program. Still, speakers at the LeadingAge annual meeting on Monday said the controversial long-term health care program has the potential to succeed (Torres, 10/17).
CQ HealthBeat: Advocates For CLASS Call On White House To Clarify Stance
Conflicting views emerged Monday on the future of a long-term-care program that Obama administration officials announced Friday they would not be implementing. Advocates for the program said at a conference that administration officials are telling them that they don't intend to pull the plug on the controversial Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) program, even though top officials of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have said they haven't found a way to make it financially sustainable (Norman, 10/17).