Experts renew hope for embattled CLASS Act

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Despite a report hotly questioning the merits of the CLASS Act late last week, defenders of the first-ever federal long-term care benefit say various tweaks could still save the embattled program.

Last week, a report released by a group of congressional Republicans — known as the Repeal CLASS Working Group — claimed Obama administration officials hushed alarms about the CLASS program's prospects of long-term financial solvency. However, architects of the voluntary benefit are defending it, saying it was “designed so it could be adapted as economic and demographic conditions change,” according to a report from Politico.com.

When former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) devised an amendment to the program, he wrote at the time that his amendment “ensures that instead of promising more than we can deliver, the program will be fiscally solvent and we won't be passing the buck — or really, passing the debt — to future generations," Politico reported.

Other tweaks recommended by experts include extending the vesting period to 10 years rather than five; restricting benefits to people with the most severe physical and mental impairments; and creating more incentives for employers to sign up, among others.