The CLASS Act would have allowed workers to pay a monthly premium for a number of years and then be eligible for a benefit to help them pay for long-term care. HHS determined the program—which the Patient Protection and Affordable Care stipulated must be solvent for 75 years—is not feasible.
In a blog post Monday, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf said the CBO will assume the CLASS Act is defunct when calculating baseline budget projections that will be issued in January. Elmdendorf wrote that his office received several inquiries about the budgetary implications following HHS' announcement late last week. In its February estimate on efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the CBO determined that the program would save about $86 billion over a decade (PDF).
Repealing the CLASS Act to ensure that the program doesn't resurface in the future would not have any budgetary effects, Elmdendorf noted Monday. “Following longstanding procedures, CBO takes new administrative actions into account when analyzing legislation being considered by Congress—even if it has not published new baseline projections,” the posting said. “Beginning immediately, therefore, legislation to repeal the CLASS provisions in current law would be estimated as having no budgetary impact.”
The White House on Monday indicated that there is still a need to address the nation's problem with long-term care. “Repealing the CLASS Act isn't necessary or productive,” Nick Papas, a spokesman for the White House, said in an e-mail. “What we should be doing is working together to address the long-term-care challenges we face in this country.”