Fiscal Cliff Deal Cancels CLASS

Those hunting for a bit of good news in the fiscal cliff deal can look to a provision repealing a long-term care program attached to ObamaCare.

When the health law first passed, it included a $70 billion entitlement known as the CLASS Act. The Community Living Assistance Service and Supports Act was supposed to be a self-sustaining program that provided cash benefits intended to help finance long-term care. It was an optional program that workers could buy into at regulated rates that weren't allowed to take health history into account. The program was even supposed to reduce the deficit: It accounted for about half of ObamaCare's scored deficit reduction.

But after the law passed, further analyses warned that instead of a self-financing, deficit reducing benefit program, CLASS would instead be a fiscal disaster, unable to self-finance and resulting in a long-term increase in the deficit and sky-high premiums for many beneficiaries, according to researchers at Boston College. Eventually, even the Obama administration had to admit that it wouldn't work. “While the law outlined a framework for the CLASS Act,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told members of Congress in February, 2011, “we determined pretty quickly that it would not meet the requirement that the act be self-sustaining and not rely on taxpayer assistance.”

And so the administration closed the program. But it stayed on the books, which meant that, at least in theory, it could someday be revived.

No more: The fiscal cliff deal that passed in the House on Tuesday struck CLASS from the books for good. Which means that unless Congress passes new legislation, the program isn't coming back. Given its dormant status, CLASS wasn't likely to do much damage. But there were those who seemed interested in reviving the program — and attempting to "fix" its problems by making buy-in mandatory. Repeal takes that possibility off the table. 

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  • JW||

    But after the law passed, further analyses warned that instead of a self-financing, deficit reducing benefit program, CLASS would instead be a fiscal disaster, unable to self-finance and resulting in a long-term increase in the deficit and sky-high premiums for many beneficiaries

    Gropes around for *shocked* face.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So that means they're going to repeal all of the aspects of ObamaCare that are going to result in increased deficits and premium hikes, right?

  • ||

    "Why would he make that up?"

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I think the "further" in "further analysis" is out of place in that sentence.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "I'll tell you what, then. Why don't you call me some time when you have no class?"

  • ||

    In times like these we can use the sage advice of the economist and businessman Rodney Dangerfield.

  • nicole||

    OT: As reported earlier by RC Dean, the IL state legislature is attempting to STEVE SMITH gun owners and general fans of freedom, in quite a big way. It's almost like they don't realize we already have some of the worst gun laws around.

    Among other things, House Bill 815 would:

    - Prohibit anyone without a FOID card from using a commercial shooting range, which in many cases would make it impossible to introduce new shooters to the safe and responsible use of firearms.

    - Grant the State Police broad discretion to impose design, construction and operation standards that could shut down most commercial shooting ranges.

    - Ban possession of magazines and other feeding devices that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. A "grandfather clause" would require registration by owners of such devices and give the State Police discretion to impose and charge fees. Registration would require "proof of ownership" that could be impossible for most people to provide, and even registered owners could not transfer magazines within Illinois, except to an heir or a licensed dealer. Transfers of "grandfathered magazines" would have to be reported to the ISP.

    - Violations of this magazine ban would be a felony. Failure to report theft or loss of a magazine would be a misdemeanor until the third violation, which would be a felony.
  • nicole||

    House Bill 1263 would:

    - Ban, at a minimum, all detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Remington 7400 deer rifles, Ruger 10/22 squirrel guns, Glocks, 1911s, etc. This ban would include about 80% of handguns now sold in the U.S.

    - Possibly ban all semi-automatic rifles and even revolvers or single-shot pistols with the capacity to accept muzzle brakes or compensators.

    - Ban "assault weapon attachments," so possession of a thumbhole stock, a pistol grip,or a fore-end (a "shroud" that "partially or completely encircles the barrel") would be a crime even if you didn't possess a firearm.

    - Ban all .50 BMG rifles.

    - Contains "grandfather" provisions that would require registration by owners of devices and give the State Police discretion to impose and charge fees. Registration would require "proof of ownership."

    - Create felony penalties for violation of this ban on guns or attachments.

    - Create lost and stolen penalties that would criminalize victims of gun theft.
  • ||

    All of that would be a violation of Heller, but of course it would have to be brought to court and would take years. Congratulations, Illinois, on being the last, shittiest holdout in a losing battle.

  • nicole||

    Yes, it's all amazingly unconstitutional, which is part of what makes it so awesome. Ugh, I do NOT want to call my state senator. I hate her too much already.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I read that Armalite has already stated they would leave the state and take their jobs with them if it goes through.

  • JW||

    Armalite has already stated they would leave the state and take their jobs with them if it goes through.

    I just had a fantastic idea for a new law!

  • Way Of The Crane||

    Yes, it's all amazingly unconstitutional, which is part of what makes it so awesome.

    Yeah, but at least we wouldn't have to worry about another firearms related fatality ever again right? I mean aside from the people the cops shoot.

  • Tim||

    Firearms manufacturers should agree to no longer sell arms to the State of Illinois or any municipalities therein.

  • Scarcity||

    I can't wait for taxes to go up to cover yet another losing court battle. Like the one we're guaranteed to get after the state issues the required concealed carry law.

  • nicole||

    That's what I said this morning--this is what our income taxes went up 2 points for, to pay for the court costs of this bullshit.

  • ||

    I think the strategy would be to pass one of those unconstitutional bills, drag it up through the Federal courts, and watch it get smacked down by SCOTUS.

    They will keep repeating the process until a new majority is on the court.

  • ||

    That's a really unsound strategy since each strike down adds another brick in the wall. We've already learned that stare decisis is the most critical judicial principle in existence.

  • AuH2O||

    Will it be, though?

    By all logic, McDonald should have been 9-0. It was incorporating a right under the 14th amendment, and was doing so to something in the Bill of Rights that the court had previously confirmed as an individual right.

    The minority was still just pissed about Heller.

  • JW||

    I don't get what the big deal is. All of that is right there in the 2nd Amendment, plain as day.

  • PapayaSF||

    Here's a short political test: anyone who says Obamacare will reduce the deficit is either a deluded partisan or a liar. Would even Tony, Shrike, or Mary go that far?

  • ||

    Why can't they be both?

  • PapayaSF||

    They can be, but they aren't necessarily.

  • ||

    I've done that before, they'll accuse you of getting your information from Fox News before moving the goal posts to talk about how Obamacare is a moral imperative and that we can't go back to being the only first world country that doesn't have big government run health care.

  • NoVAHockey||

    I still maintain that this will do very little to address access to care problems.

  • wareagle||

    and you are right; it's all about expanding federal power. That is the common denominator with all things Obama and, only on a slightly less dramatic scale, with Congress as well.

  • mr simple||

    But they're removing the evul PROFIT-motive from medicine. That has to mean it will cost less even if we have to spend more for single-payer. This is what I read in comments sections of every major newspaper and gawker site.

  • MJGreen||

    Yep. Profit is one of the highest costs of medical services, ya know.

  • Sevo||

    Pretty sure shithead already has.

  • Tim||

    Is there a chance the track could bend?

  • ||

    But there were those who seemed interested in reviving the program — and attempting to "fix" its problems by making buy-in mandatory. Repeal takes that possibility off the table.

    This is why I think no one in the Obama administration really cares if ACA fails, they're banking on maintaining enough power to 'fix' it by expanding the program and socializing medicine even further. This is just stage one in that plan.

  • Way Of The Crane||

    This is just stage one in that plan.

    Stage 3 is still "Profit" right?

  • John||

    Did the cliff deal kill off the truly evil medical device tax?

  • Pro Libertate||

    How do they determine whether a medical device is truly evil before applying the tax?

  • ||

    Its favorite movie is Pearl Harbor. That's how.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What if they lie about it? Truly evil or not?

  • ||

    Why would they lie? Like fans of Con Air, they are inexplicably proud of it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I see, thus demonstrating their true evilness.

    So, basically, the government puts the devices in a room with Pearl Harbor on and listens to the devices' comments about the film.

  • ||

    Any devices that don't run screaming from the room are justly deemed evil, and promptly taxed.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wow, that's unusually efficient of our government. Credit where credit is due, I guess.

  • ||

    It's not efficient at all. They watch the whole movie even though all the non-evil devices run out within the first 15 minutes.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Union rules, you know.

  • John||

    LOL

  • ||

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why? They built a cyborg who brought down the evil emperor and his evil empire. Seems like the opposite of evil to me.

  • mr simple||

    Talk about your long play.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You have to give the medical devices credit, as it was Luke noting his cyborgness that got him to really face down the emperor, inspiring his dad to take action against him, finally.

    Really, the whole series was about the droids and other equipment fighting organic evil.

  • ||

    Medical devices that build twisted and evil cyborgs don't bring down evil emperors, evil cyborgs with good children bring down evil emperors.

  • ||

    I thought stupidly placed shafts and overuse of Force lightning brought down emperors. Also, lack of enough hate.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Watching the prequels, I was singularly unimpressed with the Emperor's powers. Seemed to me that just about everyone could kick his ass.

  • ||

    He beat Yoda and I'm convinced he feigned weakness when fighting Samuel L. Jackson so he could goad Anakin into chopping off Mace Windu's arm.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He didn't beat Yoda, he evaded him. And he was getting his ass kicked by Mace Windu--that's too big a stretch for a guy who later got tossed into the Pit of Convenience by the same guy later.

  • ||

    IIRC, he was all "Help me Anakin I'm too weak, don't let him kill me!" And then when Anakin cuts off Windu's arm he smiles evilly and zaps him while screaming about how powerful he is. Definitely he planned that part.

    And Mace Windu was supposed to be the most skilled swordsman in the Jedi order, so it's not like he was beaten by a Padawan.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Anakin was supposed to be super-Jesus-Force man, right? I think he rolled the dice but was fucked if Anakin didn't help out. And don't tell me that he knew he would, as he certainly didn't do so well later on.

  • Tim||

    What? Every fooking major set has to have a bottomless pit?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Also union rules.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I note (as I did above), that medical devices helped Luke realize the error in his ways, just in time to inspire Dad to his evil-ending activities.

  • ||

    Okay, fine. The Star Wars medical droids are exempt, but not those fraking Cylons.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Not medical devices.

  • ||

    I'm sure some were created to do medical work just like some were created to work construction, security, and other jobs.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah? Well prove it. And prove that any medical devices did any evil.

  • ||

    Well unfortunately I can't because they cancelled Caprica after one season and right when it was getting really good. That being said, I recall there being Number Sixes that worked as nurses whenever a Cylon downloaded, so there, for the purposes of law they can count as medical devices because they have that capability.

    And does genocide not count as an act of evil?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Nurses aren't medical devices, per union rules.

  • NoVAHockey||

    No. that's still in the law. next chance to kill is 2 months with delayed sequestration.

  • Peter Suderman||

  • ||

    While I'm all for getting rid of every piece of the PPACA, attaching the elimination of a closed health care program to the "fiscal cliff" deal is indicative of Congress' moronic legislative process.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    While I'm all for getting rid of every piece of the PPACA, attaching the elimination of a closed health care program to the "fiscal cliff" deal is indicative of Congress' moronic legislative process.

    Did you expect there to be any other kind?

  • ||

    Did you expect there to be any other kind?

    Nope. Just sayin'.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I'm not undestanding the point of this program. What is the benefit of paying into a program that gives you back money to buy long term care insurance? Why not just buy long term care insurance directly?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Because you can't have extra bureaucrats skim cash if you don't use the government as middle man.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    No I get how it actually works, I mean how was it explained when they were trying to sell the con. e.g. While it's obvious the drug war is making the drug problem worse, I at least get how the "we need to save our children from drugs" explanation was able to trick people into being for it. With CLASS I can't even figure out why the BS version was supposed to look like a good idea.

  • Tim||

    Idiot. Know you nothing of government and it's ways?

  • Peter Suderman||

    The idea was that you'd pay a premium and then if you needed LTC assistance you'd get a cash benefit to pay for LTC expenses, not to pay for more insurance. But they could never figure out a way to make it self-sustaining without making it compulsory.

  • Sevo||

    ..."The program was even supposed to reduce the deficit:"...

    'Nuff said.

  • chat sohbet||

    nice page very happy with what youve done sohbet

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