Congressman to introduce bill to repeal CLASS Act after hearing discussion of strengths, flaws of long-term care insurance program

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AAHSA CEO and President Larry Minnix
AAHSA CEO and President Larry Minnix

The Community Living Assistance and Services and Supports (CLASS) Act will be repealed if physician-congressman Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) has his way. Gingrey said Thursday that he intended to unveil a bill later that day that would negate the CLASS Act, a tenet of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The bill is co-sponsored by another physician-congressman, Charles Boustany (R-LA), and Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, notably a Democrat.

It marred a day when LeadingAge president and CEO Larry Minnix, one of the CLASS Act's staunchest supporters, appeared on Capitol Hill to defend the first ever government sponsored long-term care benefit. He testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, along with actuaries and numerous others who gave their take on the controversial voluntary program.

The CLASS plan fills a serious and growing gap in the resources available to individuals and families to protect against the substantial cost of long-term services and supports, Minnix said. He pointed out that provisions in the act ensure its solvency for at least a 75-year period and that benefits would be paid out with money collected from premiums, not tax dollars, alleviating pressures on public funding programs.

Other speakers were not so optimistic, however. According to Allen J. Schmitz, a member of the Joint Academy/Society of Actuaries CLASS Act Task Force, the program is not likely to be sustainable in the long term, despite the 75-year solvency requirement. A primary concern is the considerable potential for adverse selection in this program, which could necessitate future increases in premiums and/or reductions in benefits, Schmitz said.

Read more on the hearing at the House Energy and Commerce Committee website.