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FAQ: What Factors Affect the Future of CLASS (Kaiser Health News)

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The  CLASS Act, a provision of the federal health care law that will create a government-sponsored long-term care program, continues to draw national attention. It’s been challenged by both parties and, after staff members were cut late last month, supporters now fear that it may be on the chopping block.

Why do supporters think CLASS is needed? The legislation is designed to help program enrollees pay for long-term care, with a payout of no less than $50 dollars per day. Currently, Medicaid accounts for more than 50 percent of the nation’s long-term care spending. The idea for this program is to alleviate some of those costs by encouraging people to take responsibility for their future care. Currently, only about 8-10 percent of Americans have a private long-term care policy.

The question, though, is whether the plan will work. Amidst a bevy of concerns about the program’s sustainability, HHS officials have said that CLASS will not be implemented if it is not “fiscally solvent, self-sustaining, and consistent with the statute.”

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