The centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s promise of change for America is his sweeping health care reform legislation which is slated to take effect in 2014. While right wing critics have assailed the Affordable Care Act as being financially unsustainable, the administration has to this point remained headstrong in its insistence that the act’s systemic reforms are necessary. This defense of the Affordable Care Act appears to have weakened, however, after an announcement by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that her agency had decided to shelve a controversial component of the health care law. Known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Support program, or CLASS, this critical facet of Obama’s health care vision was intended to reduce the financial burden forcedon the Medicaid program by providing long-term care to over 2.8 million patients. Instead, Secretary Sebelius’s abandonment of the CLASS provision because a suitable financial model could not be devised has opened the floodgates for detractors of overall health care reform.
The implications stemming from the cut of CLASS are numerous and far reaching, ranging from financial to political to medical in nature. One of the biggest consequences of the administration’s decision to drop the purely voluntary CLASS component of the Affordable Care Act is this move suggests that the plan’s entire financial model may be flawed. According to figures released by the Congressional Budget Office, the predicted Medicaid relief resulting from CLASS was supposed to have shaved $70.2 billion over the next ten years. Now eliminated from the legislation, this potential savings will likely reduce the expected cost efficiency of the Affordable Care Act, a national benefit which was touted by President Obama as the bill’s hallmark.
Although the debate regarding the cancellation of CLASS has predictably raged according to party lines, the move affects every member of the medical community in one way or another. If you support widespread reform of the nation’s health care industry, this development represents a direct threat to the reform movement. A sign of weakness in the administration’s stance on their own legislation is an opening that political opponents will not hesitate to exploit to their advantage. Heading into the upcoming 2012 Presidential election, with Mr. Obama seeking a pivotal second term in office, the national debate over health care reform will once again take center stage. With his political future at stake, this seemingly minor concession on the part of the president may prove to undermine his entire platform. You can also learn about “what are the best facial fillers“, click here
Whether or not you agree with President Obama’s proposals for systemic health care reform, it is clear that America’s ability to effectively deliver quality medical care has been compromised. The consequences of abandoning the Affordable Care Act’s CLASS provision remain to be seen, but the medical community must be sure that the overall reform effort is not dealt a fatal blow. If caring for the sick and injured is a responsibility shared by all of us, ensuring that a broken system is legitimately repaired should be of paramount concern.