The Untimely Death of Long-Term Health Insurance
Sunday 16 October 2011
by: Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog | Op-Ed

Joe Kostmayer undergoes dialysis at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., March 10, 2011. (Photo: Noah Berger / The New York Times)

The Administration’s decision to pull the plug on long-term health insurance in the new healthcare law (so-called Community Living Assistance Services and Support or, as it was known by healthcare insiders, CLASS) offers an important lesson.

As written, the law had three incompatible parts.

First, it required beneficiaries to receive at least $50 a day if they had a long-term illness or disability (to pay a caregiver or provide other forms of maintenance). That $50 was an absolute minimum. No flexibility on the downside.

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