GOP has ques­tions on fu­ture of CLASS Act

Modern Healthcare - - Late News -

Repub­li­can mem­bers of Congress are de­mand­ing that HHS Sec­re­tary Kath­leen Se­be­lius pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion on the Com­mu­nity Liv­ing As­sis­tance Ser­vices and Sup­port Act, or CLASS. Thir­teen law­mak­ers signed a 10-page let­ter ask­ing a se­ries of ques­tions and not­ing sig­nals that the ad­min­is­tra­tion is aban­don­ing the pro­gram. Bob Yee, ac­tu­ary of the CLASS of­fice, said in an e-mail mes­sage cir­cu­lated by Repub­li­cans that he was leav­ing his po­si­tion be­cause “HHS has de­cided to close down the CLASS of­fice.” HHS—which did not con­firm or deny Yee’s pend­ing de­par­ture—is­sued a state­ment high­light­ing the agency’s am­biva­lence about the pro­gram’s fu­ture. “While the staff of the CLASS of­fice has been re­duced, re­ports that the CLASS of­fice is clos­ing are not ac­cu­rate,” the state­ment said. “As we have said in the past, it is an open ques­tion whether the pro­gram will be im­ple­mented.” The CLASS Act, which cre­ates a vol­un­tary in­sur­ance pro­gram to pay for long-term care, has been the sub­ject of much crit­i­cism be­cause the govern­ment likely would have to sup­ple­ment consumer pre­mi­ums to cover ben­e­fits. The Se­nate Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee last week did not in­clude fund­ing for the pro­gram in its fis­cal 2012 ap­pro­pri­a­tions bill, de­spite the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­quest of $120 mil­lion to fund an ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and other ad­min­is­tra­tive costs.

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