The demise of CLASS, say critics, signals the beginning of the end of Mr. Obama's health-care reform law. Many Republicans have pledged to starve it of funding, and the US Supreme Court is slated to discuss in a Nov. 10 closed-door conference whether to hear the various legal challenges to it. Moreover, the law's bid to expand Medicaid, a public health program for the poor, is in jeopardy as states restrict access and make cuts to try to control rising costs.
Supporters of Obama's health-care reforms acknowledge that the collapse of the long-term care provision could drive support for a broader repeal of the law. But they are playing down that concern.
"Clearly, the CLASS Act was the premier attempt in the Affordable Care Act to address long-term care," says Ron Pollack of Families USA, a national organization for health-care consumers. "That said, this program was really separate from all of the remaining portions of the act and should have no impact at all in terms of their implementation."
Now that the CLASS program will not materialize, where does that leave the health-care consumer?