From NPR News
April 2, 2010
By Julie Rovner
It got precious little debate in either the House or Senate, and President Obama didn’t even mention it when he signed the huge health bill into law. But buried within the new health care overhaul is the first-ever federal insurance program to help Americans meet the often crushing costs of long-term care.
The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, better known as the CLASS Act, was one of the last legislative efforts of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA). He added it to the health bill last summer as it was moving through the committee he chaired in the Senate. While some lawmakers questioned whether the program would, as promised, actually pay for itself, it remained in the measure to the end.
“Long-term care supports and services have been the forgotten element of people’s health care needs,” said Judy Feder, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and professor of public policy at Georgetown University. “People who need help with the daily tasks of living need medical care, and they need these daily supports. They don’t distinguish between the two.”