The New Year’s Day agreement in Congress to settle budget cuts mandated by the fiscal cliff saw a number of government programs impacted. After months of debate and seemingly endless coverage, the fiscal cliff has been averted, with long-term care seeing significant changes.
The first measure Congress has taken under its fiscal cliff deal is the repealing of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act.
Part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the CLASS Act was originally designed to provide a basic cash benefit to individuals who require long-term care. Since then, the program has been abandoned by the Obama Administration, writes a Forbes contributor.
Expensive premiums for buyers along with concerns regarding the program’s financial sustainability placed the CLASS Act under criticism by Republicans and it eventually lost Democratic support as well.
As a “trade-off” to the abandonment of the CLASS Act, the second measure under the deal describes the creation of a national long-term care commission.
This commission would be comprised of 15 panel members appointed by the White House, including Democratic and Republican leaders from both the Senate and the House, reports Forbes.
The panel is supposed to reflect the interests of care recipients, caregivers, providers, insurance companies and state Medicaid officials all with one overarching mission, according to Forbes:
“To develop a plan for the establishment, implementation, and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports individuals in need of such services and supports.”
Members of the commission, says the Forbes piece, must be chosen within a month and the panel must also submit a proposal to both Congress and the White House within six months after doing so.
The creation of such a panel focused on the long-term care needs for the elderly and younger people with disabilities is the first comprehensive look taken by the nation in more than twenty years, Forbes notes, citing the Pepper Commission.
Among other key points of the fiscal deal that will raise taxes by $600 billion over the next decade include cuts to defense, social security payroll, Medicare reimbursement to doctors, income taxes, unemployment benefits and changes to the alternative minimum tax.
Written by Jason Oliva