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CLASS supporters deflated on day of confrontation

March 18, 2011
by Kevin Kolus, Editor
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LeadingAge President Larry Minnix was before the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee yesterday, testifying on behalf of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) insurance program—the arguments of which I have personally heard from Minnix on a few occasions. You can read his full testimony here, although it’s mostly everything you’ve read before on CLASS.

Of note in his testimony is one of the strongest points (in my opinion) that Minnix has made throughout discussions on CLASS, and that is the onus on several government executives “to ensure the program’s integrity.” For instance, this bit on the role of the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, who “is required to ensure ‘that enrollees’ premiums are adequate to ensure the financial solvency of the CLASS program, both with respect to fiscal years occurring in the near-term and fiscal years occurring over 20- and 75-year periods,’ and has both the authority and duty to adjust benefits and premiums to do so[.]”

Regardless of one’s view on CLASS, it’s refreshing to see a lobbyist remind government of its own responsibilities in rolling out a program it agreed to create with the passage of health reform. But is this all for naught?

Congressmen Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-Louisiana), Phil Gingrey (R-Georgia), and Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) introduced bipartisan legislation later in the day to repeal CLASS. “The CLASS Act is nothing more than a new entitlement nightmare created by ObamaCare,” Gingrey said in a statement. “Adding another entitlement is the last thing we should consider.”

I wonder how much longer the battle over CLASS will be waged. One thing is certain, however: Minnix isn’t backing down any time soon.

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Kevin Kolus

Kevin Kolus

@longtermliving

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kevin-kolus

Kevin Kolus wrote for Long-Term Living when he was an editor. He left the brand in 2012...