Second Democrat says he'll support repeal of CLASS health program

Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah) on Wednesday became the first Democrat to publicly support repealing the healthcare reform law’s CLASS program since the administration announced it was indefinitely suspending the program.

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) previous had sponsored legislation with two Republicans in March that would repeal the program. 

Now that the administration has signaled it cannot implement the program, Republicans intend to move quickly on a bill to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program. Matheson broke with the Obama administration and many congressional Democrats to support repeal.
 

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“Repeal of the CLASS Act is the right decision and Congress should be considering real common-sense reforms that lower health care costs and allow greater access to quality care,” Matheson said in a statement.

The Utah Democrat opposed the healthcare reform law, but he also voted against Republicans’ bill to repeal the entire law earlier this year.

Matheson cited long-standing concerns about whether the CLASS program would be financially sound. Even before the healthcare law passed, Republicans and nonpartisan analysts questioned whether CLASS could ever be solvent. The program would have provided insurance coverage for individuals requiring long-term care.

“I have believed all along that this provision is a financial ticking time-bomb,” Matheson said. “CLASS is a poorly designed program that would lead to a fiscal disaster for the taxpayer. This country faces challenges with long-term care, but the CLASS Act is not an appropriate solution.”

Lipinski offered similar comments earlier this month when the administration announced its decision.

“At least in one respect, this decision is not in the least surprising,” said Lipinski, who like Matheson voted against the healthcare law. “Experts had labeled the CLASS Act a fiscal disaster from inception. There was no way it could survive on its own, as I pointed out even before the health care law was voted on."

Editor's note: This story was corrected at 11:26 p.m. to highlight Lipinski's support for repeal.