A national advocacy organization has launched a petition urging Congress to create broader access and flexible and more affordable long-term services and support options.
The Advance CLASS Board recently announced it has posted a petition on Change.org in hopes of bringing more attention to the need for a realistic long-term care solution, particularly as the costs of long-term care increase and as more private long-term care insurance providers drop out of the market.
January 2013, Congress repealed the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or CLASS Act, as part of legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff. The CLASS Act, which was enacted in March 2010 as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, would have provided a framework for how our country pays for long-term services and support. But in October 2011, the Obama administration announced that the program was not viable and would be dropped.
“What we’re hoping to do with this petition is get enough grassroots support to make Congress recognize the fact that there are people who want this issue to go forward and come up with some sort of long-term services reform,” said Lee Page, associate advocacy director at Paralyzed Veterans of America and a member of the Advance CLASS Board.
Page said that lawmakers repealed the CLASS Act without offering any solutions or alternatives for providing long-term services for people other than “spending down,” or reducing the value of assets an individual owns in order to qualify for Medicaid assistance.
Disabled veterans in particular do not all receive their services through the Veterans Administration, and even if they do, it’s strictly for the veteran and not their family, Page added.
“If it comes down to catastrophic injury, catastrophic illness or disability, or a family member who needs long-term services, it’s going to put a huge financial burden on the family, and that could be for the vet specifically or other members of the family,” Page said. “And it could result in a whole host of different scenarios – the spouse having to stay home from work to take care of the person, them spending down, or impoverishment.”
The Advance CLASS Board hopes for a solution that will offer consumers access to a broad array of support options, with an emphasis on home and community-based supportive services, as well as residential options.
Sign the online petition to register your support. You can also help spread the word by sharing the petition and Advance CLASS YouTube videos on Facebook and Twitter.
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America's work on behalf of all people with disabilities
Brittany Ballenstedt is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in several publications, including Government Executive, National Journal, Technology Daily and NextGov.com.