Part of Health Care Reform Down the Drain

The CLASS Act, part of the health care law passed last year, has just been suspended.  Tom Curry of MSNBC.com’s article “Obama administration halts part of health care law,” says that the decision is seen as controversial to some Republicans.  The CLASS Act was supposed to be a big part of keeping the costs associated with the health care law under control because people would be paying into it immediately, but would not be withdrawing money until at least 2016.  It may have been a big reason that the bill was passed in the first place, but Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius says that she doesn’t foresee any way to make the CLASS Act work.

CLASS is short for Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, and was supposed to be a long term care insurance program.  It was still part of the health care bill even though Medicare’s chief actuary raised a red flag about the act in April of 2010.  He said that it had an extremely high risk of failure because the sickest people would likely be the ones to sign up for it and the system would be drained.  So even though the Congressional Budget Office said that the CLASS Act would reduce federal deficits by $86 billion in 10 years, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sebelius has found that the program is just not sustainable.

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