Bill would create national insurance plan for disabled adults

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Long-term care providers praised new legislation that would provide a financial safety net for adults who become disabled. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act of 2007 would establish a national insurance program to pay for those long-term care costs.

Voluntary payroll deductions of $30 per month would finance the program. Benefit eligibility would kick in after five years of program contributions. The two-tiered benefit program would provide $50 a day for care for people who have two or more impairments on activities of daily living and $100 a day for those requiring assistance with four or more ADLs. Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) sponsored the Senate bill; Reps. John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) introduced the bill in the House.

The program is designed to take some of the burden off of the Medicaid program and give Americans long-term care alternatives. Larry Minnix, president of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, said the legislation would "help ensure that all Americans can receive the services they need, when they need them, in the place they call home."