UJC for a CLASS Act


United Jewish Communities is hailing the introduction of legislation that would create a voluntary disability insurance program for adults with long-term health care needs. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act of 2009, introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), would create a new national insurance program (from which individuals could opt out) that would provide a cash benefit for adults who have or develop functional impairments. in addition, UJC notes it is one of a group of public policy organizations tapped by Kennedy to help engender grass roots support for the bill around the country. Here’s UJC’s release:

New social safety net legislation will ensure the availability of long-term services and supports for 78 million Baby boomers while sustaining the Medicaid program for the foreseeable future, according to a leading Jewish advocacy organization intensely involved in the bill’s development.

UJC/Jewish Federations of North America hailed the introduction today of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act of 2009, which creates a voluntary disability insurance program for adults with long-term healthcare needs.

The CLASS ACT was simultaneously introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.).    UJC/Jewish Federations of North America was tapped by Senator Kennedy to appoint a representative to join a select group of public policy organizations to help craft and garner grassroot support for this legislation. 

“As the baby boomer generation nears retirement age, it is more and more certain that Medicaid is in crisis, and that steps must be taken immediately to ensure the availability of the long-term care that millions of Americans will need,” said William C. Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the UJC/Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office.  “A voluntary disability insurance program will reduce the fiscal demands on the already stressed Medicaid program by providing access to long term care and supportive services to baby boomers as they get older."

Senator Kennedy appointed UJC/Jewish Federations of North America to his legislative steering committee for the CLASS Act in recognition of the organization’s record of effective advocacy for the nation’s most vulnerable and its commitment to working with Congress to sustain and enhance long-term health and support services.  In this capacity, UJC/Jewish Federations of North America will work closely with the bill’s authors, who serve as the Chairmen of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health respectively, to encourage its passage.

“Senator Kennedy and Representative Pallone have a strong and enduring record that seeks to positively reform the nation’s healthcare laws to better serve the country’s most vulnerable,” said Jonathan Westin, assistant director of legislative affairs for UJC/Jewish Federations of North America, who will represent the Jewish organization on Senator Kennedy’s committee.  “The CLASS Act is no exception and will serve as a major step forward in ensuring that services for both the older adult population and people with disabilities are met in a pragmatic and effective way for generations to come. As a leading social service organization on Senator Kennedy’s committee, we look forward to working with congressional leaders on a bipartisan level to help garner grassroots support within the broader faith community and elsewhere to ensure swift passage of this legislation.”

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