The U.S. Congress is considering the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, a voluntary insurance program that would help pay for long-term services and supports to disabled Americans. In Germany and Japan, social insurance programs are universal, support family caregivers, and allow individuals considerable flexibility in securing the services they require. We explored differences between Germany and Japan in program goals, eligibility process, scope, size, and sustainability for possible applications in the United States. Moreover, when we compared public spending on longterm care, we found that spending in the United States is actually higher than in Germany even now, prior to enactment of the CLASS Act, and is only slightly lower than in Japan.
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