AAHSA applauds launch of new CLASS Act Office

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The Obama administration has established an office for the CLASS Act, a long-term care and disability insurance program.

The CLASS Office, which will be housed in the Administration on Aging, will head implementation of the program. Overseeing it will be Assistant Secretary on Aging Kathy Greenlee. Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, which has been a vocal proponent of the act, praised the administration's move.

“Kathy Greenlee understands the importance of non-medical home and community-based services and how they will be increasingly important to help people with disabilities—young and old—stay at stay at home and avoid more expensive services,” Minnix said in a statement.

CLASS, or Community Living Assistance Services and Support, is a healthcare reform program that will aim to help finance long-term care for workers who become disabled. It will accomplish this through an opt-out program that is expected to take effect in 2012. Workers should be able designate a percentage of their paycheck for retirement or long-term care insurance. The goal is for users to supplement the program with a wraparound private insurance policy. Critics believe premiums will be so high as to make it unsustainable.