Providers 'working very hard' to ensure Senate doesn't vote for CLASS Act repeal

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LeadingAge, VP of Legislative Affairs, Marsha Greenfield
LeadingAge, VP of Legislative Affairs, Marsha Greenfield

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to repeal the CLASS Act on Wednesday, making a full House vote possible by the end of the year. Meanwhile, providers in favor of the law have intensified efforts to ensure the Senate doesn't follow the House's lead.

Three conservative Democrats, Reps. Mike Ross of Arkansas, Jim Matheson of Utah and John Barrow of Georgia, supported the House committee repeal vote, which went 33-17. Some Senate Republicans also have pushed for repeal, but the movement is not likely to find enough support on both sides of the aisle.

“We are working very hard to make sure the Senate does not repeal the CLASS Act,” Marsha Greenfield, LeadingAge's Vice President of Legislative Affairs, told McKnight's. “We are working on a path forward.”

The Obama administration halted work on the long-term care insurance program in the fall, when Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said she could not find a way to make the program financially viable. Still, Republicans say an official repeal is necessary because the healthcare law states that the Secretary must have a final rule on the plan by Oct. 1, 2012. Democrats contend that the program could be revised.

“We wonder why there's such a huge rush to repeal something that's not going to be implemented,” Greenfield said. The CLASS program still has a strong framework, she said, and the issues around long-term care insurance are not going to disapate.

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