Affordable Care Act Loses CLASS

Senior Citizen

As the United States copes with massive budget deficits, many individuals are curious if there will actually be funding available for the Affordable Care Act once it becomes an active law.  Further adding to this uncertainty is the loss of CLASS, a key provision in the ACA which was to provide for the long-term care of the elderly, has been recently suspended indefinitely.

According to statistics, nearly one third of all Medicare spending is related to long-term care.  Proponents of the Affordable Care Act view this “indefinite suspension” of CLASS as a major setback, while opponents argue that this is the first of many dominoes to drop.  Regardless of ones position on the issue, the fact remains that those near the end of their lives will not find financial assistance through the Affordable Care Act.

It goes without saying that the US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has taken quite a bit of heat for suspending CLASS.  Those opposed to Affordable Care Act have justly argued that a great deal of money has already been spent on implementing a component of the Affordable Care Act which will not be utilized.  These opponents also argue other components of the health care reform law will likely fall to the same fate as CLASS and even more money will be wasted.

Over the years the military has spent countless billions of dollars on programs which have yielded no results.  While the suspension of CLASS is a huge loss to seniors, the money spent on implementation of this program should not be seen as a loss.  Should funding become available for CLASS, previous research and spending to implement the program can still be utilized.

Though CLASS appears indefinitely suspended, the needs of the nation’s elderly still remain.  As the cost of providing long-term care has escalated, the quicker senior citizens see their funds depleted.  While some would advocate sweeping these seniors under the rug, family members will be left to shoulder most of the financial and social burden of those that are unable to care for themselves.