Long-term healthcare reform provision axed

Oct. 14, 2011 at 9:01 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The Obama administration said Friday it has dropped a key piece of its healthcare reform package that was to provide Americans insurance for long-term care.

"At this point, we do not have a viable path forward to implement the CLASS Act," Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging at the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters, referring to the Community Living Assistance Services Act.

Republicans who have assailed President Barack Obama's efforts to extend affordable healthcare to millions of uninsured Americans said the decision shows they were right when they said it would be too costly, The Washington Post reported.

Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., who has sought to repeal the healthcare reform legislation, told the Post he felt "justified and vindicated."

"The bottom line is as people start to understand this bill, you are going to see more and more of a domino effect," he said.

Gingrey had said more than a year ago the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid had found the program would have a hard time succeeding, the Post said.

The Obama administration had projected the long-term care program would help trim the federal deficit by $86 billion over the coming decade. The Congressional Budget Office now projects the healthcare reform law will cut the deficit by $124 billion from 2012 to 2021.

The voluntary program, which was to be financed by premiums paid by participants, was to have provided a basic lifetime benefit of a least $50 a day in the event of disability.

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