House mulls adding CLASS Act to healthcare reform bill

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are strongly considering adding the CLASS Act to their version of healthcare reform.

The Community Living Assistance Supports and Services (CLASS) Act would establish a voluntary government-run long-term care insurance program that would help defray the costs of nursing home and in-home care in the event of a disability. The late Ted Kennedy (D-MA) proposed it in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). The House has yet to adopt the plan. Though plans have not been finalized, one Democratic aide said there is “strong support” for the measure in the House, The Associated Press reported.

The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, a long-term care association, has been a major supporter of the program. Some Democratic moderates are skeptical. Because the program will spend the first several years only collecting money and not paying out any benefits, opponents predict it will become unsustainable. It will need large infusions of cash starting around 2019, after it begins to pay our benefits, they argue.