House sets healthcare vote for Saturday; AAHSA applauds inclusion of CLASS Act

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

The U.S House of Representatives has scheduled a vote on its comprehensive healthcare reform bill for Saturday evening. As lawmakers fine-tune the legislative language, outside groups, including the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, continue to weigh in on the debate.

AAHSA, along with 17 other organizations, sent a letter Thursday to House leadership praising their decision to include the CLASS Act in the healthcare reform bill. The CLASS Act, which has been the object of much scrutiny of late, would allow for workers to pay into a long-term care insurance trust. In the event they become disabled, those who have paid in for a minimum of five years would be eligible to receive an average of $50 a day to pay for in-home care expenses.

AAHSA, a long-term care organization which represents nonprofit providers, also expressed support for the Community First Choice option in the House bill. The option would expand Medicaid funding beyond institutional care to home- and community-based care.

In related news, AARP, which also signed onto the letter, Thursday officially endorsed the House healthcare bill. Also, earlier this week, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) on introduced an amendment to the healthcare bill that clarifies certain language regarding reimbursements to skilled nursing facilities for employee background checks.

Under his amendment, providers would be reimbursed the cost for all background checks the new law would require, but federal funding would be limited to the amount made available to states through the bill. Dingell's amendment also directs the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to create a set of quality indicators for the care of people with Alzheimer's and dementia.