Celebrate ADA Anniversary by Defending CLASS

CLASS Act.jpgLast year’s anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act arrived with more fanfare, given that it was the law’s 20th anniversary, but that makes today’s occasion no less important. At a time when Medicaid is vulnerable in debt ceiling negotiations and the unemployment rate of people with disabilities is nearly twice that of the general population, we still have a long way to go before the ADA’s goal of granting full equality to all people, regardless of their ability, is achieved.

On this ADA anniversary, we join with the rest of the disability and aging community to participate in a national call-in day to protect the CLASS Act (short for “Community Living Assistance Services and Supports” Act). The CLASS Act is a national, voluntary health insurance program to facilitate long-term care services in the community. The CLASS Act would allow people to choose to pay into this health insurance program and start drawing cash benefits if and when they need them once they’ve been paying into the program for five years. The program is entirely self-sustaining (because it’s financed by people’s contributions), and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates it would reduce the deficit by $83 billion over 10 years. Still, it has been the target of many attacks; most recently, the Gang of Six proposed repealing the CLASS Act in its deficit reduction plan.

Call 1-888-785-9795 to urge your members of Congress to oppose a repeal of the CLASS Act because:

  • CLASS helps Americans – The CLASS program provides families with an affordable way to plan for future supports and services. CLASS will allow more Americans the ability to remain in their homes while getting the care they need.
  • CLASS reflects Reform Jewish values – We are taught, “Do not separate yourself from the community” (Pirke Avot 2:5); accordingly, we must prevent anyone from being separated against their will. The lack of a viable long-term health insurance option for most Americans means that many people end up separated from their communities and unnecessarily institutionalized to obtain critical services. The CLASS Act will help end this pattern and enable people to live in their communities as they choose.
  • CLASS saves money – The Congressional Budget Office said CLASS will reduce the budget deficit by $83 billion over 10 years. The program also saves federal dollars spent on Medicaid by reducing the number of people relying on the program for long-term services and supports.
  • Americans support CLASS – A Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard poll found that 76% of Americans support the CLASS Act.

Please also browse the RAC’s Disability Rights issue page to learn more about disability rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act and key actions you can take to advance the goals of the ADA.

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Deborah Swerdlow

About Deborah Swerdlow

Deborah is the Religious Action Center's Program Associate. She was a 2010-2011 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant

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