lunes, 17 de octubre de 2011

RE: [promo74lasallanos] money is money haber si podemos aprender de otros

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[] En nombre de Claudio Mori
Enviado el: Saturday, October 15, 2011 10:50 PM
Asunto: [promo74lasallanos] money is money haber si podemos aprender de

White House eliminates insurance program for long-term care


Linda Davidson/THE WASHINGTON POST - Dr. Curtis Whitehair (C) and resident
Dr. Christopher Karam (R) watch as Dr. Eric Wisotzsky (L) measures the arm
of cancer patient Angela Milhouse, 57, during her checkup at the National
Rehabilitation Center on September 21.

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By N.C. Aizenman, Published: October 14

The Obama administration cut a major planned benefit from the 2010
health-care law on Friday, announcing that a program to offer Americans
insurance for long-term care was simply unworkable.

Although the program had been dogged from the start by doubts about its
feasibility, its elimination marks the first time the administration has
backed away from a key piece of President Obama's signature legislative



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From killing jobs to $500 billion in taxes, a lot of misinformation is
spread about President Obama's healthcare plan. Glenn Kessler and the
Pinocchio scale will help you get to the truth behind the rhetoric.

From killing jobs to $500 billion in taxes, a lot of misinformation is
spread about President Obama's healthcare plan. Glenn Kessler and the
Pinocchio scale will help you get to the truth behind the rhetoric.

More on this Story

* 'Supercommittee' could affect public health initiatives
* Wonkblog: White House kills CLASS
* Wonkblog: Repealing health reform via reconciliation? Not so fast.
* More clinicians for health-care access program

View all Items in this Story

* Wonkblog: Health insurance premiums, dissected
* White House kills long-term care program
* Wonkblog: Our health-care productivity problem, in one chart
* Troubled long-term care program is first casualty in the political
wars over Obama's overhaul

Republican critics of the law immediately said the decision proved that the
legislation is unsound and unsustainable. Every major GOP presidential
candidate has pledged to work to repeal it.

Because the insurance program had been projected to reduce the federal
deficit by $86 billion over the next 10 years, terminating it complicates
the nation's budget picture. It is now estimated that the health-care law
will cut the deficit by $124 billion from 2012 to 2021, according to the
Congressional Budget Office.

Known as the Community Living Assistance Services (CLASS) Act, the program
was intended to be purely voluntary and open to all working Americans. It
would have provided a basic lifetime benefit of a least $50 a day in the
event of illness or disability, to be used to pay for even nonmedical needs,
such as making a house wheelchair-accessible or hiring a home caregiver to
assist with basic tasks.

The program was to be entirely self-financed with the premiums participants
paid. Obama officials said that presented them with a problem: If they
designed a benefits package generous enough to meet the law's requirements,
they would have had to set premiums so high that few healthy people would
enroll. And without a large share of healthy people in the pool, the CLASS
plan would have become even more expensive, forcing the government to raise
premiums even higher, to the point of the program's collapse.

For the past 19 months, experts in the administration had searched for ways
to get around the conundrum.

Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging at the Department of Health
and Human Services, announced its conclusion Friday: "At this point, we do
not have a viable path forward to implement the CLASS Act."

Rep. Phil Gingrey said the finding was long overdue. The Georgia Republican,
who sponsored a bill to repeal the legislation, observed that more than a
year ago the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services determined that the program was at significant risk of failure.

"I feel justified and vindicated," Gingrey said. Like other Republicans, he
predicted that this would be the first thread in the health-care law to
unravel. "The bottom line is: As people start to understand this bill, you
are going to see more and more of a domino effect," he said.

Sherry Glied, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS,
countered that the CLASS program was an isolated case whose practicality was
questionable from the beginning. Indeed, she said, for this very reason, the
law stipulated that the secretary of health and human services had to
certify that any CLASS Act plan she designed would be solvent for the next
75 years before she could implement it.

"There is a very clear difference between that kind of uncertainty and the
rest of the law," Glied said.

Meanwhile, consumer advocates accused the administration of giving up too

"I'm very disappointed," said Connie Garner, who helped draft the CLASS Act
while on the staff of the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

"CLASS is a critical backstop, giving working families a tool to protect
themselves from being one illness or injury away from poverty," said Garner,
who directs a group called Advance CLASS Inc. "The president promised to
implement this program. We expect him to keep that promise."

The program was a long-cherished goal of Kennedy, whose support helped
ensure that it was folded into the larger health-care measure despite
resistance from prominent Democrats and even the White House.

Its path to inclusion was also eased by projections that, at least
initially, it would boost the federal balance sheet by tens of billions of
dollars. This was because the law barred the program from paying out
benefits for the first five years. So by adding the program to the
health-care legislation, Democrats were able to substantially increase the
deficit savings they could claim for the law as a whole.

The move helped gain the measure's passage. But on Friday, Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) highlighted the strategy's downside, saying
in a statement: "The Obama administration today acknowledged what they
refused to admit when they passed their partisan health bill: The CLASS Act
was a budget gimmick that might enhance the numbers on a Washington
bureaucrat's spreadsheet but was destined to fail in the real world."

Staff writer Peter Wallsten contributed to this report.

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