CLASS ACT clears hurdle in Senate healthcare bill debate

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Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

An attempt to kill off the Community Living Assistance Supports and Services (CLASS) Act was thwarted Friday.

The long-term care and disability insurance program remained in the Senate healthcare bill Friday afternoon as the Senate voted 51-47 to defeat an amendment proposed by Sen. John Thune (R-SD). According to the Senate's Web site, the Thune amendment would “eliminate new entitlement programs and limit the government control over the health care of American families.” The amendment considered the CLASS Act, which would pay out a benefit to enrollees in the event of a disability, an entitlement program. The CLASS Act would reduce the deficit by $72 billion from 2010 to 2019, according to the Senate bill. The total bill is projected to reduce the deficit by $130 billion during that time.

As of press time, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) had not yet introduced an amendment similar to Thune's that would remove the CLASS Act from the Senate bill.