Friday brought “sad but not surprising” news that the Administration was halting work on the CLASS Act, a voluntary long-term care insurance plan that was included in the Affordable Care Act. Secretary Sebelius said that the actuaries has done the review, and that they couldn’t make it pencil out, given the constraints of the law.
Two quick points: One is that the CLASS Act was a self-contained section of the federal health law, and is not really part of the architechture of the rest of the Act. Even former Republican Senator Judd Gregg, the author of the amendment that forced the actuarial review that led to the CLASS Act’s demise, called it a “sidecar” that wouldn’t impact the overall bill (even though he opposes that, too, as he was interviewed by the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff).
As Jonathan Cohn notes in his write-up, having the CLASS Act dismissed really doesn’t have any impact on the other provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Those who oppose the CLASS Act are generally those who oppose the solutions that would fix the CLASS Act–or any other solution to the long-term care needs of Americans.
As both Secretary Sebelius and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities note, long-term care is still a big issue our country needs to tackle. Unfortunately, we are still having the debate about even whether to ensure that people can get basic care.