- The Washington Times - Friday, December 11, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

David Gratzer’s Op-Ed (“Yet another new entitlement,” Opinion, Sunday) inaccurately portrays the Community Living Assistance Service and Supports (CLASS) plan as an entitlement program, when, in fact, CLASS is a voluntary insurance program funded by participants’ premiums and earned interest, not tax subsidies. The Senate bill specifically prohibits using tax dollars to pay for benefits.

Mr. Gratzer is mistaken in equating CLASS with “Congress’ pay-as-you-go programs” because the bill mandates that CLASS charge premiums sufficient to assure that the program is solvent at least 75 years from day one and is kept that way. The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis shows that the program meets this requirement.

Long-term services and supports are a health care issue that no one wants to talk about and everybody will face. Unlike other programs, CLASS offers a consumer-funded and fiscally solvent way to make it affordable to care.

LARRY MINNIX

President and chief executive officer

American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging

Washington

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