Chamber of Commerce speaks out on CLASS ActArticle added by Jesse Slome on August 12, 2010
Jesse Slome

Jesse Slome

Los Angeles, CA

Joined: October 13, 2006

The inclusion of the CLASS Act within health reform was just the first phase of what will certainly ramp up to a major campaign to position CLASS as "America's new long term care plan."

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance acknowledges that CLASS is a reality and certainly marks a milestone in the nation's awareness of the need to address the issue of long term care planning. Only time will tell whether the CLASS Act will work. And, at this point there are too few details to make a case one way or the other. That said, the new law is receiving a healthy dose of coverage within publications read by human resource managers and employee benefits executives. As a result, we are already seeing greater interest among employers.

Because you are likely to be asked about CLASS by employers, the Association thought it might be beneficial to share a just-written letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in support of Congressman Charles Boustany's (R-LA) newly introduced legislation to rein in CLASS.

The following is the Chamber of Commerce letter dated August 2, 2010:

Chamber of Commerce of The United States of America
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President
Government Affairs
1615 H Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20062-2000

The Honorable Charles Boustany
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Boustany:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, thanks you for introducing H.R. 5853, the "Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2010," which would protect taxpayers from the potential fiscal consequences of the new CLASS Act entitlement. At a time of dangerous budget deficits and a myriad of new taxes, the country can ill afford to create a new entitlement program.

The bill would increase oversight of the CLASS program and require actuarial soundness to be confirmed before final implementation of the program, as well as a vote in Congress specifically on the new entitlement. In addition, H.R. 5853 would require more meaningful notice to potential enrollees about the program's risks and fiscal implications.

Perhaps more importantly, the bill would prevent the government from collecting CLASS premiums until the program's governing regulations are finalized. This is critical, especially considering the flood of regulations required by other more immediate provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The unsuitably close deadline between regulations being finalized and when employers would begin offering and enrolling their employees could have a harmful effect.

Further, the bill would prevent a CLASS bailout by forcing the program to sunset if its funding becomes insufficient. This is a critical safeguard needed to ensure fiscal responsibility and prevent a taxpayer bailout of an entitlement program that the Congressional Budget Office has suggested is unsustainable.

The Chamber appreciates your continuing efforts to protect the retirement security of American workers and to move the federal government toward greater fiscal responsibility.

R. Bruce Josten

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