CLASS program needs immediate alternative
January 31, 2012
To the editor:

The United States House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, to KILL the CLASS program without offering an alternative. This means that people with disabilities and seniors will have to spend down all their life savings to qualify for Medicaid-funded personal attendant services or possibly be forced to enter nursing homes.

The CLASS program is a voluntary program that lets people share the cost of their care by paying a monthly premium and receive a cash benefit if they need it to stay in their own home.

Congress has debated this issue for two decades. CLASS can be improved and made more affordable only if it remains on the books. Otherwise, we could see another two decades of inaction. This shows how out of touch Congress is with the real life struggles of American families.

The National Council on Aging has provided the following number to reach your U.S. Representative and messages to share: Call (855) 218-2109 now and tell your Representative:

  1. Don't ignore our broken long-term care services system. Millions of middle-class seniors and families must spend-down their life savings, burden loved ones, and go into expensive nursing homes to get the care they need.

  2. Killing CLASS is irresponsible and harmful. Instead, Congress should fix the program in a fiscally responsible way by reducing premiums and saving Medicaid dollars.

  3. Vote NO on CLASS repeal in HR 1171. Don't abandon the needs of seniors, people with disabilities, caregivers, and their families.

You can find out more about CLASS go to a Paraquad disability blog here.

Kirsten Dunham, director of policy and advocacy for Paraquad, St. Louis, MO

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