GOP has questions on future of CLASS Act
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.