AARP joins 50 groups opposing repeal of the long-term-care act

The powerful seniors lobby AARP on Wednesday joined more than 50 disability rights groups, unions and other advocates in letters urging House and Senate leaders not to repeal the healthcare law's long-term-care CLASS Act.

Republicans have vowed to hold votes on repealing the program after the Obama administration announced last month that it could not find a way to make it solvent. The GOP controls the House and could schedule a vote at its leisure, while the Senate sponsor of repeal legislation — Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP struggles to find backup plan for avoiding debt default GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries High anxiety hits Senate over raising debt ceiling MORE (R-S.D.) — said he is actively looking for a bill that could support a repeal amendment.

Rather than repeal CLASS, we urge continued dialogue and development of a viable path forward, the groups wrote in the letter. We urge you to reject proposals to repeal CLASS, and instead focus on a constructive path forward.

The letter states that 70 percent of people older than 65 will need long-term-care services, which arent covered by Medicare. The CLASS program called for the creation of a voluntary, self-sustaining benefit through which people who have paid premiums for at least five years become eligible for cash payments to help with activities of daily living if they become disabled.

HHS said it couldnt find a way forward at this time, but the actuarial report released by the agency stated that the program could be made to work if it restricted adverse selection by people most likely to qualify for the benefit shortly after signing up. The White House opposes repeal.