Groups push to avoid CLASS Act repeal

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News from Washington DC

More than 50 disability advocacy groups, including the National Disability Rights Network, sent a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday calling for Congress to avoid repealing the CLASS Act, despite the legislation’s uncertain future.

The CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) Act, a provision of the Obama health care bill, directed the Department of Health and Human Services to design a program allowing individuals, through their employer, to pay into a federally run long-term health care insurance program to provide cash benefits for assistance with daily activities, such as dressing, bathing and eating.

Three weeks ago, the department suspended the program, saying it could not create a program that would attract enough beneficiaries to be “fiscally solvent,” within the parameters of the law.

However, some Republicans are attempting now to repeal the CLASS Act legislation to thwart any attempt by the Department of Health and Human Services to reboot the program.

In the letter, the advocacy groups stressed that an ever-increasing number of people are in need of long-term care. They argued that the heavy financial toll on private care givers, $450 billion to provide services that would be covered by the insurance program envisioned by the CLASS Act, is “financially devastating” and in need of a federal fix.

“Rather than repeal CLASS, we urge continued dialogue and development of a viable path forward,” the letter stated. “The need to address (long-term services and supports) and how these services will be paid for in a way that is affordable to individuals and society as a whole will not go away.”

DisAbility Rights Washington, the sponsor of DisAbility Rights Galaxy, is part of the federally funded protection and advocacy system and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.

 

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