CLASS Act Non-Implementation Proves Obama Is Not One

This business has me in tears of sorrow (for my late mother and her Alzheimer’s caretaker, my late father) and of rage (for all those seniors in their same situation today who deserve better from their government). David Dayen of FDL:

The CLASS Act was inserted into the Affordable Care Act as a sort of tribute to the late Ted Kennedy, the bill’s longtime champion. It enacts a federal long-term care insurance program, a kind of public option for long-term care. The Obama Administration, emails now show, didn’t like it from the beginning. And now, there are signs that they may not put it into practice.

The Obama administration said it may not enact a long-term-care insurance program included in last year’s legislation that overhauled health care.

The initiative, known as the Class Act, was designed to help Americans cover the cost of aid for daily living needs such as bathing and using the toilet should they become too old or sick to care for themselves. It became law when President Barack Obama signed the health-care overhaul in 2010, though the program hasn’t begun operating.

Amid mounting concerns about its fiscal sustainability, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday said they may not go forward with the program. “It is an open question whether the program will be implemented,” the agency said.

The disclosure came after the office in charge of the initiative terminated its chief actuary, Bob Yee. In an interview, Mr. Yee said the office was being disbanded effective Friday. “My understanding is they’re slowing down the development,” Mr. Yee said. “They’re taking a pause and reducing the amount of work being done.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee just zeroed out funds for CLASS Act implementation, a cut of $120 million. Tom Harkin told reporters that the Administration informed them the implementation money would not be needed this year. At least they waited a whole two years after Kennedy’s death before trying to gut his program.

This was the exact situation my late parents found themselves in. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and eventually had to be placed in a nursing home. My father paid the bills, a breathtakingly obscene sum of money every month. I was not able to help him: if I had provided him any money, it would merely have delayed the point at which Medicaid, never very substantial in Texas, would have begun providing him help with the bills.

The month Medicaid would have kicked in is the month my mother died. My father was very nearly broke. I helped him to buy a few things he truly needed, but Dad, being of that generation, refused most help from me. He lived another five years, mostly on his Texas Teacher Retirement money. Physically and emotionally, he never really recovered from the exhaustion brought on by his inability to have continued providing for my mother.

I voiced a fervent prayer that God damn George W. Bush, who was Governor of Texas at the time. S/He did not comply, obviously, instead elevating Bush to the presidency over the demonstrable wishes of the voters.

And now Obama refuses to help with elder care as surely as GeeDubya did. What a class act. [/snark]

When I reach the point at which that level of care would be necessary, please just drag me out to the curb on heavy trash day. Put a sign on me that reads, “Barack Obama did this.” And fucking haul me away.

AFTERTHOUGHT:  If you’re a Republican who thinks all these people should be taken care of at home by family… damn you to Hell for even thinking that. You have no idea, in this era of modern medicine, of the degree to which the body can be kept alive beyond the ability to care for a senior at home. You have no idea. Damn you, damn you, damn you to Hell.

AFTERTHOUGHT:  I am not the first to think of this, but… this could be just the beginning. Obama & Co. could refuse to implement other provisions, e.g., the requirement that insurers cover pre-existing conditions, one provision at a time, until nothing is left of the Affordable Care Act except the requirement that members of the public buy commercial medical insurance at whatever price the companies demand. Give me one good reason not to expect that to happen.

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  • MandT  On Sunday September 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    That’s why most of it was put forward to 2014.

    • Steve  On Sunday September 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      MandT, you are surely right. But I plan to vote against Obama based in part on his apparent intent, whenever he plans to roll back the useful provisions of the ACA. He gets no points with me just for not being a GOPer. I’ll be watching him very closely on this.

  • Steve  On Sunday September 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Aside to jacksmith: I agree with much of what you wrote, but I simply cannot encourage extremely long posts in the comments. You really need to create a blog of your own. It would be worth your time to write and ours to read.

    I have saved your long comment in case you don’t have a copy of your own. I’ll be happy to email it back to you if you want to use it as a starting post in your soon-to-be-created new blog.

  • MandT  On Sunday September 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I will not vote for Obama… Apologizing for the length of thread here’s why: Telecom Immunity surrender.
    ‘Look-to-the-future’ and let the War Criminals go free.’
    Continued Torture.
    Habeas Corpus fail.
    BP spill duplicity.
    Bankster Collusion.
    Shirley Sherrod.
    Wall St. collusion.
    Union apathy.
    DADT and DOMA shenanigans.
    War expansion.
    Healthcare betrayal.
    Drone strike murders.
    Torture beating deaths.
    Expanded Spying.
    War on Whistleblowers.
    F*cking bush Tax Cuts.
    Assassination of American Citizens without due process.
    Missing Billion$.
    Defense Contracts.
    Vote fraud.
    Flotilla Murders.
    Monsanto rubber stamp on Agriculture.
    Lobbyist Infestation.
    Corporate cronies occupying consumer agency offices.
    Goldman Sachs running the economy.
    Protecting george bush.
    Signing statements.
    “F*cking retards.
    Backroom Deal
    Lying about his Backroom Deal.
    Black prisons.
    “National Security” invoked to avoid lawsuits and oversight.
    ‘Transparency’ fail.
    ‘Preventative detention.
    Environmental surrenders.
    Catfood commission.
    SocSec-Medicare cuts.
    binLaden murder and mob-dump.
    Warrantless email data gathering.
    Torture crimes shielded.
    Cutting low-income (heating) subsidies.
    Pharma price negotiations surrender.

    • Steve  On Sunday September 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      Good list, MandT, and thank you. And your post was about a third the length of jacksmith’s, if not less.

    • Steve  On Monday September 26, 2011 at 10:46 am

      Don’t forget: Elizabeth Warren. He left her twisting in the wind for a long time after he appointed her head of the CFPB, never doing a damned thing to further her confirmation. Of course, she may end up in the Senate as a result… 🙂

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