A second House committee has voted to repeal the long-term care health care program in the Affordable Care Act, the Hill’s Sam Baker reports, “clearing the way for a floor vote next month.”
The Department of Health and Human Services announced in October that it did not believe Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had the discretion necessary bring the program in compliance with the health care law’s sustainability provision, which stipulates that CLASS has to remain solvent for a period of 75 years. But administration officials and many Democrats also oppose repealing the measure outright, arguing that it represents an important first step towards reducing the nation’s long-term care crisis and could eventually be modified into sustainability. Under today’s system, Medicaid has evolved to become the nation’s primary payer for long-term services “and supports, financing nearly half (43 percent) of all spending on long-term care services.” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that by mid-century 16 percent of anticipated federal revenues will be used to fund care for the baby-boom generation.
The ACA’s long-term care program, CLASS, was designed to minimize beneficiaries’ reliance on Medicaid by encouraging younger Americans to establish a cash benefit in their working years that would be made available to them should they become disabled.
One Democrat voted for repeal this morning on the House Ways and Means Committee, while three supported eliminating the program when it passed the Energy and Commerce Committee in November. “The measure will come to the floor next month, an aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)” told the Hill.