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National Council on Aging's Firman Lauds CLASS Act as Part of House Health Care Bill
Date:10/30/2009

- Calls on Congress to Address Long Term Care in Health Care Reform -

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At a briefing by the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations today in Washington, DC, James Firman, President of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), applauded the House for making the CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) part of its Affordable Health Care for America Act and urged the Senate to include the CLASS Act and other important long-term care provisions in its final package as well.

Firman called long-term care, "the primary unmet health need for seniors."

"Without strong provisions addressing long-term care," he said, "health care reform will not be truly comprehensive and meaningful. Our current system forces people into institutions inappropriately, requires many middle class families to spend-down into poverty before receiving the help they need, and doesn't support family caregivers adequately."

Firman said NCOA supports the CLASS Act, and noted, "We are in good company." More than 130 national organizations have signed on to support the provision. And a survey in late June by Lake Research Partners found that almost eight out of ten Americans (79%) say they would be more likely to support a health reform proposal that includes improved coverage for home and community-based long-term care services.

A fiscally sound proposal, the CLASS Act promotes independence by helping seniors and people with disabilities pay for care in their own homes rather than going prematurely into a nursing home to obtain care covered by Medicaid. The Act promotes consumer choice, because recipients can use the cash benefits as they see fit, controlling what services they get, how, and from whom.

Other important provisions in the House bill increase funding for family caregiver support programs and strengthen programs for direct care work
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SOURCE National Council on Aging
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