Today, Congressman Donald M. Payne (NJ-10) voted against H.R. 1173, which is the Republicans misguided effort to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. Congressman Payne released the following statement:
"My Republican colleagues introduced H.R.1173 to repeal the CLASS Act. The CLASS Act was enacted as part of President Obama's historic health care reform to create a voluntary, fully prefunded long-term care benefit. The CLASS Act was established in response to the growing number of citizens with long-term health care needs. I voted against H.R. 1173 because repealing the CLASS Act would impose enormous financial, emotional and physical burdens on senior citizens and people with disabilities.
"Though the Obama Administration has made clear that implementing the CLASS Act presents difficult challenges hard to overcome, Members of Congress must work with the health care community to come up with a workable solution that will provide senior citizens and others most in need with long-term care benefits and affordable services. In 2008, twenty-one million people required long-term care services. Such care is not covered by Medicare, and about 70 percent of people over age 65 need some type of long-term care service during their lifetime.
"As a supporter of the health care reform, I strongly declare that repealing the CLASS Act is not the answer. In this time of economic hardship and income inequality, families impacted by illnesses and accidents are without a viable way forward to meet their long-term care needs. It is estimated that 15 million Americans will need some kind of long-term care by 2020, but fewer than three percent currently have a long-term care policy. As a result, we should not abandon this effort; rather Republicans and Democrats must come together to find a sustainable solution to address this great need," said Congressman Payne.