Deficit commission's plan would eliminate CLASS Act

Share this content:
Salaries increase for DONs, administrators
Salaries increase for DONs, administrators

A bipartisan deficit commission, co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, is scheduled to vote today on its deficit reduction proposals, which would make several cost-saving cuts to Medicare. Among programs on the chopping block is the healthcare reform law's long-term care insurance program, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act.

Bowles told the committee at a meeting Wednesday that the CLASS Act is a "very big unfunded mandate" and that its benefits "will dwarf revenue in the out years" while enrollees pay into it. The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, which has championed the CLASS Act, has argued that, while the program would contribute to the federal deficit in 2030, it will remain solvent and pay for itself.

The commission also proposes repealing physician pay cuts through 2014. Cutting the CLASS Act and restoring physician pay actually would increase Medicare's shortfall between now and 2020, according to a report in The Fiscal Times. The commission needs 14 of 18 members to vote in favor of its proposals, at which point they would be sent to Congress.