House Poised To Repeal Federal Health Reform Law’s CLASS Program
On Wednesday, the House is expected to easily pass legislation (HR 1173) that would repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program created by the federal health reform law, but the bill is unlikely to receive the necessary votes to pass in the Senate, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker/Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/31).
Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune (S.D.) said the measure probably would not get the 60 votes it needs to pass in the Senate. However, he said the House vote could create "momentum" and put pressure on Senate Democrats.
House Republicans hope a repeal vote will cast a negative light on Democrats for supporting an overhaul program that the Obama administration has said is unworkable (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/31).
According to National Journal, Senate Democrats were wary of defending CLASS during interviews on Tuesday.
Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said, "I don't know how it's going to come up over here, but it does have major long-term financial problems."
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) -- chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the panel that was responsible for putting CLASS in the health reform law -- said he was "neither here nor there" on repealing the program. He noted that the program is "causing a lot of families a lot of financial problems," adding that the "problem with CLASS is that it's voluntary."
Other Democrats continued to argue that the program should not be repealed without a viable alternative.
Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) both said they would not vote for repeal. "Obviously a lot of us want to return to this issue,â Wyden said (McCarthy, National Journal, 1/31).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.