Obama Administration Halts Part Of Health Care Law

The Obama administration announced Friday that it has suspended one piece of the landmark health care law which the president signed last year.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told Congress in a letter that the CLASS Act, which was supposed to provide a new voluntary long-term care insurance program, was unworkable since no actuarially sound way could be figured out to run the program.

“I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time,” Sebelius said in her letter.

CLASS stands for “Community Living Assistance Services and Supports.”

The CLASS Act was a significant piece of the health care bill because it helped make it deficit neutral over the first ten years after enactment, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office. Thus CLASS helped garner the votes to help the bill pass.

According to the CBO, the CLASS program would have reduced federal deficits by $86 billion in first 10 years, partly offsetting the increased federal spending due to the other parts of the health care bill. In the first years of CLASS, enrollees would be paying premiums into it but would not be able to collect benefits until 2016.

In a memo to Congress in April of 2010, Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster warned that the program would “face a significant risk of failure” because sicker people would tend to sign up for it and the costs would soon exceed the premium payments. The program, he said, would likely be “unsustainable.”

In her letter Friday, Sebelius seemed to have reached the same conclusion as Foster did in 2010.

One of the Republicans who led the opposition to the CLASS Act, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Friday, “The administration is finally admitting the CLASS Act entitlement is unsustainable and cannot be implemented. Simply setting aside the program for the near-term is not enough. Repeal is the only solution to ensuring American taxpayers will not be on the hook in the future for this disastrous entitlement.”


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  • by To OSOC et al Location: enc on Oct 16, 2011 at 01:33 PM
    First one didn't get posted! Greece is a Parliamentary Republic, Spain is a Constitutional Monarchy, Russia was is and has been in turmoil since the collapse of the Soviet Union. While there are elections, they are closely supervised by the miliatary. China is a single-party Republic led by the Communist party and is considered ---Capitalistic! None, of these are "socialist"! There has never been, nor is there now a purely socialistic country! Most, if not all, modern countries use aspects of socialism in order to effectively govern in our more complicated world! To call social programs "socialistic" while declaring "hand-outs" and extra benefits to corporations and other "private" industry examples of "free market" is absurd! For an example of the union of government and business, the best is Nazi Germany! Hitler's first attacks were to blame workers, unions, minorities, and to take control of the press, education, and business. Until and unless you understand the differences between "socialism" with a small letter and Communism and Fascism-please try to refrain from making erroneous and misleading statements!
  • by "socialists" Location: enc on Oct 16, 2011 at 10:50 AM
    At a time when our next presidential election will cost a history making 1 Billion dollars-supported by the wealthy, it idea that we are "socialistic" is a JOKE!
  • by liberal Location: greenville on Oct 15, 2011 at 08:53 PM
    I agree with "Health". I also feel we pay more than anyone else in the world for health care. We have been lied to about the Canadian system. I met a lot of Canadians on a trip this summer and asked them about their system and they "all" said they love it. They said they pay more in taxes, but also do not have to pay for the private insurance like we do. A cab driver that I talked to had a pacemaker placed last year and said that they treated him well and did not have to pay anything but his co-pay. They do not understand why we are so against this type of system. Oh well. There was a lot about the health care plan that was good like being able to keep your kids on til age 26. Much of the plan was flawed and did not go far enough to suit me. I would have preferred a Canadian type of system, where we would pay taxes into the system instead of to an insurance company. The insurance companies are more about helping themselves to a profit than actually helping us. I am sure there are many who will call me a socialist. I am trying to figure out what is so bad about that?
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Oct 16, 2011 at 04:56 AM in reply to liberal
      Just look at all the socialist countries, like Greece and Spain, Russia and others...it sounds fine until you run out of the rich peoples money...then you go into debt, then they burn the cities. No socialist or communist country in the world has ever been productive very long...look at China. Also consider that millions were murdered in the name of it.
      • reply
        by To OSOC on Oct 16, 2011 at 09:16 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        All modern counties include parts of "socialism"! What do you think "oil subsidies" are?
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Oct 17, 2011 at 06:47 AM in reply to To OSOC
          Oil Subsidies are when the government wants you to buy ethanol instead of pure gasoline. So they give the money to the oil companies to make us less expensive that gasoline.
      • reply
        by To OSOC on Oct 16, 2011 at 01:34 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        The only pure "socialistic" groups would be the communes during the 60's! They were never governments as such and certainly were not countries. None of the countries you list are socialists!
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Oct 17, 2011 at 06:50 AM in reply to To OSOC
          Apparent to me, you are too lazy to look it up on your own. I am going out on a limb...Obama voter? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_socialist_countries
    • reply
      by To liberal on Oct 16, 2011 at 09:15 AM in reply to liberal
      No, I do not call you a "socialist". Unlike the "righters" here, I know what it means. LOL Why is it fine for our government to control profits by paying farmers for crops they may or may not grow-but it isn't fine for us to collectively provide health insurance? Because in the farmers case-they get rich! In every case-follow the money. If someone profits-it is fine, but for some reason good health doesn't seem to compute as "profitable".
  • by Frank Sinatra Location: Heaven on Oct 15, 2011 at 07:48 PM
    Every part of this bill eleminated is better for America
  • by Pitiful Location: enc on Oct 15, 2011 at 02:49 PM
    The "Christian" right is happy that this program can not work for the elderly? They are happey that there is not a program for long term care? They had the nerve to "warn" about death panels, but they are happy that this plan didn't work? Perry is right, they don't have a heart!
  • by Go Romneycare! Location: enc on Oct 15, 2011 at 09:34 AM
    The solution is simple-use Rommeycare-it uses a mandate for all! Then CLASS will be funded!
  • by Health Location: enc on Oct 15, 2011 at 08:43 AM
    We pay 40% more for health care than any other modern country in the world! While insurance CEO's are pocketing 300-400 million a year in salaries and you think this is right? Finally, a president tries to correct that and he is wrong? Now, the GOP is pushing a man who wants to give the middle and poor classes the largest tax increase in history while giving the wealthy the largest tax cut in history. This makes sense to you? Not to me! The health care bill itself had a stop-gap. Where is the stop-gap for the Bush tax cuts? They have been gouging us now with nothing to show for it for 10 years! Class was stopped BEFORE that happened!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:38 AM in reply to Health
      If the rich are currently paying NOTHING as you say, 9% is more than they have ever paid then. Also, we may pay more for health care, but why is it that most people with the money come to America to have their operations ? Because we have superior health care than anywhere else in the world. The Bush and obama tax cuts sent checks to almost EVERY middle class American family. You're point is a lie !
      • reply
        by To anonymous on Oct 15, 2011 at 02:46 PM in reply to
        OR, we could close the loop holes for the millionairs! Bush's tax cuts sent nothing! The wage-earner tax cuts for the middle class that Obama passed is being threatened as we post by the GOP-They was it to EXPIRE! Nothing I said was a lie-they are facts you can find anywhere-if you bothered to get informed!
      • reply
        by To anonymous on Oct 15, 2011 at 02:56 PM in reply to
        Where in my post did I say the rich are paying NOTHING? Please show me the facts to back up your claim that "most people with money come to America to have their operations". That is NOT a fact! Canadians do not come here-the British do NOT come here. It is free for them-why would they? We are NOT leaders in all health care. Our life expectancy and infant mortality fall well below other advanced countries. The ONLY thing we lead in is treatment for Cancer-thanks to millions who have given to that research! It is safer to have a baby in many other countries! Warren Buffet made his tax record public-he paid 17% on an income of 62 Million! His tax will be reduced by 6%! Before you figure what % you pay-take out your refund and any deductions-children, mortgage , etc-because you will not have them-it will be a straight 9% on the GROSS!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 15, 2011 at 04:30 PM in reply to
        Actually we rank 37th in healthcare quality....
      • reply
        by To anonymous on Oct 16, 2011 at 09:10 AM in reply to
        Guess what? Millionaires collect much of their income from capital gains-guess what Cain plans to do with that? It is NOT included in his 9%! All capital gains income would be tax free!!
  • by Promises KEPT! Location: enc on Oct 15, 2011 at 08:37 AM
    This law provided for stop-gaps if it increased the deficit-it worked! Obama promised it would not increase the deficit and the way it was built, it was stopped before it happened! The GOP, on the other hand will not stop the tax cuts for the wealthy, which are costing us 11.4 Million dollars and HOUR! This is the difference between really putting your country ahead of your own political gain and "paying off" the rich! Thank you, Obama, for being careful!
  • by Proof Location: enc on Oct 15, 2011 at 08:30 AM
    This only proves that left to "volunteer" the elderly and their families who will have to carry the brunt of long-time care are doomed! A national healthy care bill must be mandated-as it is in all other advanced countries! This is what the Dems. get for letting the Reps. "water down" the bill! So much for compromise!
  • by Facts-please Location: enc on Oct 15, 2011 at 08:25 AM
    Nobody lied-certain conditions were actually build into the law that, if not met, would not allow CLASS to start. It was a safe-guard put in the laww-and it WORKED!
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