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Resolutions & Amendments

38th International Convention - San Francisco, CA (2008)

Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act)

Resolution No. 65
38th International Convention
Moscone West
July 28 - August 1, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Individuals who are impaired in their ability to perform basic activities, such as bathing, dressing, toileting and eating, due to an illness or injury, rely upon services and supports to live with dignity and independence in their homes, to remain employed, and to be active in our community; and

For many workers, private insurance plans for disability and long-term care are simply unavailable, unaffordable or inadequate; and

Our current system often fails to meet the needs of those with functional disabilities and their families and too often forces individuals and families to forfeit their jobs and homes, and spend-down into poverty before receiving the help they need; and

Our nation has too long ignored the urgent need to provide meaningful, high quality options for long-term care, services and supports, including residential, home and community-based supportive services; and

The national long-term care crisis demands a national solution; and

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act), introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) in the U.S. Senate and Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) in the U.S. House of Representatives, creates a new national public insurance program, financed though payroll deductions, to help adults who have or develop functional impairments remain independent, employed and in their community; and

The CLASS Act calls for voluntary payroll deductions similar to Medicare Part B enrollment, which gives people the limited choice to opt out, to finance a flexible cash benefit for those individuals who have contributed to the program for five years and are unable to perform two or more functional activities of daily living; and

By providing for a broad pooling of risk and help for lower income workers to enroll, the CLASS Act would make this coverage more affordable than it is currently and it would provide individuals with access to supports and services without requiring them to become impoverished and to qualify for Medicaid; and

CLASS Act program benefits will supplement but not supplant other important benefits such as Social Security Old Age or Disability benefits; and

The CLASS Act also promotes an infrastructure that would help address the need to expand the pool of well-trained, respected and adequately compensated direct care service workers.

That AFSCME will support the CLASS Act as a vehicle for our nation to address the serious long-term care challenges we face in a meaningful, productive way.
SUBMITTED BY: Douglas Moore, Executive Director and Delegate
United Domestic Works of America/NUHHCE