The Washington Times completely wrong on CLASS Act
In an April 1 editorial, The Washington Times falsely claimed that the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act was “removed” from the Senate’s health care bill and re-introduced “in the lengthy reconciliation bill at the last minute,” because it “wouldn’t have obtained the 60 votes needed.” In fact, the CLASS Act was in both the House and Senate’s original health care bills, passed the Senate with 60 votes, and was not included in the reconciliation bill.
The Washington Times falsely claims CLASS Act was “removed” from Senate bill and “buried in the lengthy reconciliation bill”
The Washington Times: CLASS Act “buried in the lengthy reconciliation bill at the last minute.” In an April 1 editorial, The Washington Times wrote that “Democrats claim this isn’t a controversial program, but if they really believed that, they wouldn’t have had to sneak the provision into the reconciliation bill. But it was snuck in the reconciliation bill only two days before the House vote,” and that it was “buried in the lengthy reconciliation bill at the last minute.”
The Washington Times falsely claims CLASS Act “wouldn’t have obtained the 60 votes needed.” The editorial also claimed that “[t]he budget concerns of a handful of Democratic senators kept the program out of the earlier version of the health care bill, which passed the Senate before Christmas. If the provision hadn’t been removed, Democrats wouldn’t have obtained the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster. Only by jamming it into the Senate reconciliation bill in March were they able to get it passed with the bare minimum 51 votes.”
In fact, the CLASS Act passed the Senate with 60 votes in the original health care bill
The CLASS Act was in the original Senate bill that passed on December 24, 2009. The CLASS Act is Title VIII of the original health care bill as passed by the Senate on December 24, 2009 with 60 votes. From the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
The House of Representatives passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, without any amendments, on March 21 with a final vote of 219 - 212. President Obama signed the bill into law on March 23, 2010.
The CLASS Act was in the original House health care bill that passed in November. The CLASS Act is in Division C, Title V, Subtitle D of the original health care bill that passed the House on November 7, 2009. From the Affordable Health Care for America Act:
The CLASS Act was not included in the reconciliation bill. Because the CLASS Act passed both in the House bill, in the Senate bill, and again in the House when they approved the Senate bill, it was not included in the reconciliation package. In fact, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Bill of 2010 makes no mention of any long-term care insurance provisions.
The Washington Times misleads on CLASS Act funding to suggest it is funded through a mandatory fee
The Washington Times: “Americans will find between $150 and $250 taken out of their paychecks each month.” The Washington Times also claimed in the editorial that “Obamacare is a socialist law designed to take money from some Americans and use it to benefit others.” The editorial declared that the CLASS Act is a “costly provision” which “has taxpayers covering long-term at-home care for the elderly.” The Times further claimed that “taking $150 to $250 out of each monthly paycheck will cause problems for millions of Americans,” and called it “yet another example of Mr. Obama breaking his promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year.”
However, the CLASS Act is a voluntary program, funded by its participants
White House fact sheet: The CLASS Act is a “self-funded and voluntary long-term care insurance choice.” According to the White House, CLASS Act, as passed into law, is “self-funded and voluntary”:
It is a self-funded and voluntary long-term care insurance choice. Workers will pay in premiums in order to receive a daily cash benefit if they develop a disability. Need will be based on difficulty in performing basic activities such as bathing or dressing. The benefit is flexible: it could be used for a range of community support services, from respite care to home care.
No taxpayer funds will be used to pay benefits under this provision. The program will actually reduce Medicaid spending, as people are able to continue working and living in their homes and not enter nursing homes. Safeguards will be put in place to ensure its premiums are enough to cover its costs.
The New York Times: CLASS Act is a “voluntary” “long-term care insurance program,” and “those who participate will pay monthly premiums.” In a March 24 The New York Times blog post, Paula Span reported that the CLASS Act “sets up a voluntary government-run long-term care insurance program available through employers. Those who participate will pay monthly premiums. After five years, they’ll be covered and can receive benefits if they need care - whether they are 20-somethings in snowboard accidents or 80-somethings with Parkinson’s disease.”