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The New Year's Day budget agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff includes two key measures that could be critical to people receiving long-term supports and services and their caregivers. The first repeals the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. The second creates a new national commission to develop a plan for better financing and delivery of long-term care services.

Well, the "fiscal cliff" has been averted, for now. One law that fell over the cliff, however, is the CLASS Act intended to deal with the issue of long-term care for seniors. As a result, politicians did what they always do - form another "commission."

The CLASS Act and the new commission formed to study the delivery (and financing) of long-term care was the subject of a recent Forbes article titled "Fiscal Cliff Deal Repeals CLASS Act, Creates Long-Term Care Commission." As summarized in the title of this Forbes article, The American Taxpayer Relief Act or ATRA - does two things in the field of long-term care: first, it officially ends the CLASS Act, and second, it forms a new bipartisan commission to "tackle" the matter.

Is it a good trade-off? For starters, the CLASS Act had already been abandoned by the administration and Congress alike. On the other hand, this new commission might not find an alternative new solution. As the Forbes article notes, the commission is a "political commission" rather than a panel of subject matter experts. The commission has been given a window of six months to conduct its business.

The crisis of long-term care in America is still a developing one. How we come to deal remains to be seen. That noted, as an individual the time to take responsibility for your long-term care future is today. Be sure to consult competent legal counsel and your long-term care insurance agent to examine your options.

for more information, please visit my estate planning website.

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