Jul 30, 2013 • 24M

The Demise of the CLASS Act and the Future of Long Term Care Insurance: A Conversation with Ms. Connie Garner (August 5, 2013)

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David Introcaso, Ph.D.
Podcast interviews with health policy experts on timely subjects. The Healthcare Policy Podcast website features audio interviews with healthcare policy experts on timely topics. An online public forum routinely presenting expert healthcare policy analysis and comment is lacking. While other healthcare policy website programming exists, these typically present vested interest viewpoints or do not combine informed policy analysis with political insight or acumen. Since healthcare policy issues are typically complex, clear, reasoned, dispassionate discussion is required. These podcasts will attempt to fill this void. Among other topics this podcast will address: •Implementation of the Affordable Care Act •Other federal Medicare and state Medicaid health care issues •Federal health care regulatory oversight, moreover CMS and the FDA •Healthcare research •Private sector healthcare delivery reforms including access, reimbursement and quality issues •Public health issues including the social determinates of health Listeners are welcomed to share their program comments and suggest programming ideas. Comments made by the interviewees are strictly their own and do not represent those of their affiliated organization/s.
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While the vast majority (70%) of people turning 65 will need long term care services for an average of three years, only 7 million Americans own a long term care insurance policy.  Medicare does not provide for long term care and Medicaid only covers long term care costs for those with very limited financial means.   The CLASS Act, a provision within the ACA, would have created a voluntary and public long term care insurance policy for employees but the ACA provision, as written, was unworkable such that the Obama adminstration abandoned its efforts to implement the CLASS Act in late 2011.  (The Congress offically repealed the provision in early 2013.)     

During this 25-minute interview Ms. Garner discusses the need for long term care insurance (both for the elderly and younger disabled), the origins of the CLASS Act and why the provision was ultimately unsuccessful and the continuing need for related reforms to both entitlement programs, i.e., Medicare and Medicaid, and the long term care insurance market.

Ms. Connie Garner is currently the Executive Vice President for Public Policy at United Cerebral Palsy.  Previously, Ms. Garner worked at Foley Hoag where she served as Policy Director in the Government Strategies Practice Group and as Executive Director of Advance CLASS, Inc., a position she still holds.  For 17 years prior she was Policy Director, Disability and Special Populations, to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  In that role, she was the lead Democratic Committee architect for the CLASS Act, the major long-term care legislation that was a part of the ACA.  Ms. Garner also served in the U.S. Department of Education.  She received her B.S. in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, a M.S. in Nursing form George Mason, and an Ed.S. in Special Education from George Washington.  She is certified as a Pediatric and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and is the mother of seven children.

For a primer on long term care insurance see this DHHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) research brief: http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/2012/ltcinsRB.shtml