WASHINGTON BUREAU — Congressional Republicans are demanding that the Obama administration clarify what it is doing about implementation – or non-implementation – of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act long term care (LTC) insurance program.
Republicans in the House and the Senate have written to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to get the details behind reports that the CLASS Act implementation office has been shut down.
The lawmakers have asked a total of 24 questions, and they are demanding that Kathleen Sebelius answer by Oct. 6.
“These developments raise important questions about the future of the CLASS program as well as whether the public has been fully informed about the administration’s views on this costly program,” the lawmakers say in the letter. “The public has a right to know what is happening to this office, whether HHS intends to implement the CLASS program, and, if so, who is going to do the work.”
The list of lawmakers signing the letter includes House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. The list also includes Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and John Thune, R-S.D.
The lawmakers sent the letter after reports surfaced that HHS told the 8 staffers in the CLASS implementation office that they would be reassigned as of Sept. 22.
The Obama administration had asked for $120 million for CLASS program implementation, but the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed a bill zeroing out any funding for CLASS Act implementation.
Erin Shields, an HHS official, has denied that the office is closing. “We are continuing our analysis of this program,” Shields says.