We have discussed a piece of legislation known as the CLASS Act on the blog quite extensively in the past. The CLASS Act, if you recall, is the provision in the health care reform bill that authorizes a national long-term health care insurance program. As it is presently drafted, employees who pay into the system for five years or more become eligible for long-term health care coverage. It was estimated that the program would pay benefits ranging between $50 and $150 per day to those in need of care and who paid into the system. To many, the idea of public long-term health care insurance seemed too good to be true, and it turns out that it just might be.
Much like the rest of the health care reform bill, the CLASS Act is under attack from Republicans in Congress. The difference with CLASS, however, is that many Democrats, as well as the Health and Human Services secretary, Katherine Sebelius, are also acknowledging that the program is unsustainable as drafted. Although we are yet to see any viable solutions, we can be fairly certain that the CLASS Act will be revised, at the very least. Over the protest of many in Congress, Mrs. Sebelius asserts that her department has authority to modify CLASS to make it sustainable. Of course, congressional conservatives would rather see the program scrapped altogether.
A recent article in the New York Times provided some very interesting insight into how this debate is shaping up. If you are interested in whether CLASS may some day be an option for you or your elderly parents, reading the story might be a good idea.