Last week, the Obama administration announced that it will be cancelling the long-term care insurance program that would have been created from the Affordable Care Act. The program, known as Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS), would have brought aid to those suffering from chronic illness and disability, was determined to be a detriment to the overall economic health of the nation, leading Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to discontinue the program. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act claim this as a major victory in the effort to halt federal health care reform.
According to Sebelius, the insurance rates required to keep CLASS afloat would be far too high to appeal to healthy people, making enrollment into the program low. She concluded that so few people would be enrolled in the program that it would end up costing the government more money than it would be making. Given recent concerns over the economy, CLASS has been one of the more unpopular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and is now one that will not be implemented until a viable alternative can be found.
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While opponents of reform declare this to be a major setback to the new health care law, Sebelius notes that the decision to cut the CLASS program will have no effect on other provisions of the law. The decision has run afoul of advocacy groups representing the senior and disabled communities, but Sebelius insists that the premiums for the insurance program would have been so high that these two groups would have found little to no benefit from it.