CLASS Act Future In Doubt
The health law's long-term care program, which has faced concerns about its fiscal sustainability, appears at risk following reports that the HHS office overseeing it faces a key staff reduction.
The Wall Street Journal: Long-Term Care Program In Doubt
The Obama administration said it may not enact a long-term-care insurance program included in last year's legislation that overhauled health care. The initiative, known as the Class Act, was designed to help Americans cover the cost of aid for daily living needs such as bathing and using the toilet should they become too old or sick to care for themselves. It became law when President Barack Obama signed the health-care overhaul in 2010, though the program hasn't begun operating. Amid mounting concerns about its fiscal sustainability, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday said they may not go forward with the program. "It is an open question whether the program will be implemented," the agency said (Adamy, 9/23).
Modern Healthcare: Lawmakers Question Sebelius About CLASS Act In Wake Of Plans To Close Office
More than a dozen members of Congress representing both chambers on Thursday sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (PDF) demanding more information on the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act after noting they learned HHS plans to shut down the CLASS office. ... In a blog posting Thursday, the Senate Republican Policy Committee cited part of an e-mail message from Bob Yee, actuary of the CLASS office, that said Yee would be leaving his position because "HHS has decided to close down the CLASS office effective tomorrow." HHS—which did not confirm or deny Yee's pending departure—issued the following statement, which also highlighted the agency's ambivalence about the program's future: "While the staff of the CLASS office has been reduced, reports that the CLASS office is closing are not accurate," the statement said (Zigmond, 9/22).
CQ HealthBeat: HHS Shrinking Long-Term Care Program Office, Denies Shutdown Is Imminent
The Department of Health and Human Services is shrinking the office charged with implementing a controversial long-term care insurance program, and said the program may not get off the ground at all. But the department disputed rumors that it was shutting down the entire office. If the voluntary program were scuttled, it would be one of the biggest casualties of President Obama’s signature health law (Ethridge, 9/22).
In other coverage related to long-term care -
MarketWatch: Long-Term-Care Insurance: Most Still Don't Buy In
A growing number of people are aware they may face steep nursing-home and other long-term-care costs as they age, but few are willing to purchase long-term-care insurance, according to a new survey of California residents. Consumers are twice as likely now, compared with 17 years ago when the survey was first fielded, to say they know that typical health-insurance plans don't pay for long-term care, according to a Field Poll of 950 adults for the California Partnership for Long-Term Care, a program of the state's Department of Health Care Services that partners with insurers to certify policies that meet specific consumer-protection requirements (Coombes, 9/22).