House Passes Repeal of CLASS Act; Legislation Unlikely To Pass Senate
On Wednesday, the House voted 267-159 to pass legislation (HR 1173) that would repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program created by the federal health reform law, National Journal reports (McCarthy, National Journal, 2/1).
House Republicans, who unanimously opposed the long-term health care program, secured the support of 28 Democrats to pass the bill.
Before the vote, House GOP lawmakers said that repealing the program is necessary to prevent the HHS secretary from violating the reform law because the department is not expected to designate a benefit plan by October as required by the law.
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), the bill's sponsor, said, "That's not a very good example to set for the American people, to have the [Obama] administration breaking the law."
Measure Moves to Senate
The bill now proceeds to the Senate, where Republicans have echoed the opposition to the program and Democrats are expected to resist the measure (Attias, CQ Today, 2/1).
In comments on the chamber floor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) noted that the Obama administration suspended implementation of the program after finding that it would be financially insolvent. "As the House is showing today, if the president refuses to act on this most important issue, Congress will," McConnell said (Brady, Roll Call, 2/2).
Meanwhile, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to facilitate a floor vote on a similar measure (S 720) to repeal the CLASS Act (CQ Today, 2/1).
House Rejects Democratic Amendments To Preserve CLASS
Also on Wednesday, the House voted to reject four Democratic-proposed amendments that would have preserved the CLASS program, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports.
Two of the amendments, by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), were designed to block the repeal until more studies are done on its benefits and the government can confirm that 60% of individuals ages 25 and older have access to private long-term care plans.
The other two amendments, by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), would have required the government to provide more information to Congress and called for certification that the repeal would not increase federal spending for long-term health care (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 2/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.