House Committee Votes to Repeal CLASS
On January 18, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways & Means voted 23-13 to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, by approving the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act (H.R. 1173).
The Committee’s approval clears the bill to be voted on by the full House.
Advocates for older adults and people with disabilities — as well as for direct-care workers — have been supporters of the CLASS program, the voluntary, federal insurance plan created under the Affordable Care Act to help people purchase long-term services and supports (LTSS).
The CLASS program would also establish a national Personal Care Attendants (PCA) Workforce Advisory Panel to advise Congress on the adequacy of the number of PCAs, their wages and benefits, and access to the services that PCAs provide.
Advocates Oppose the Bill
CLASS supporters have organized to oppose the advancement of H.R. 1173 (pdf).
On January 17, more than 50 organizations sent a letter (pdf) to the Ways & Means Committee leadership opposing the bill.
Caring Across Generations also mobilized its supporters, generating hundreds of calls to Committee members opposing repeal.
The Obama Administration halted implementation of the CLASS program in October due to concerns about its viability. However, the Administration also opposes repeal, arguing that CLASS provides a framework for future action to meet the LTSS needs of older Americans and people with disabilities.
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is leading efforts to defend CLASS against repeal in the Senate.
– by Gail MacInnes, PHI National Policy Analyst