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NCOA Supports Senate Health Reform Bill
Date:12/23/2009

CLASS Act Long-Term Care Provision Key to Reform

Statement by James P. Firman, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Council on Aging supports the Senate for its Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), which, when passed, will bring America one giant step closer to the long-awaited goal of health care that is both accessible and affordable for Americans of all ages.

NCOA has worked hard to ensure that the Senate bill will meet the particular needs of older adults, and we believe that, on balance, it is good for America's seniors. H.R. 3590 would improve health care for older Americans, protect and strengthen Medicare, extend coverage to 30 million more Americans, and reduce our national deficit.

We particularly celebrate the inclusion of the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) Act--a voluntary, self-funded, and fiscally responsible public long-term care insurance program. The CLASS Act will help people live in their own homes and communities longer rather than being forced into poverty and nursing homes with reliance on Medicaid-based long-term care as the only option. CLASS is a good answer to a chronically unmet health care need, and we look forward to working with members of Congress to strengthen it further in conference.

Other valuable long-term care provisions include the Community First Choice Option, which would make it easier for those already on Medicaid to receive help in their homes and communities without being forced into institutions, and a new rule that would give spouses of those receiving Medicaid home and community-based services the same asset protections that spouses of those in Medicaid nursing homes receive.

Consistent with its commitment to our most vulnerable citizens, NCOA has also worked to support the Elder Justice Act and commends the Senat
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SOURCE National Council on Aging
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