Troubled long-term care program is first casualty in the political wars over Obama’s overhaul
The Obama administration Friday pulled the plug on a major program in the president’s signature health overhaul law — a long-term care insurance plan dogged from the beginning by doubts over its financial solvency.
Targeted by congressional Republicans for repeal, the program became the first casualty in the political and policy wars over the health care law. It had been expected to launch in 2013.
“This is a victory for the American taxpayer and future generations,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., spearheading opposition in the Senate. “The administration is finally admitting (the long-term care plan) is unsustainable and cannot be implemented.”
Proponents, including many groups that fought to pass the health care law, have vowed a vigorous effort to rescue the program, insisting that Congress gave the administration broad authority to make changes. Long-term care includes not only nursing homes, but such services as home health aides for disabled people.
Known as CLASS, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program was a longstanding priority of the late Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
Although sponsored by the government, it was supposed to function as a self-sustaining voluntary insurance plan, open to working adults regardless of age or health. Workers would pay an affordable monthly premium during their careers, and could collect a modest daily cash benefit of at least $50 if they became disabled later in life. The money could go for services at home, or to help with nursing home bills….