Budget

HHS Wants to Develop a Strategic Branding Strategy for a Program It Admits Won't Work

|

One hand in the air, cause we don't really care…

If you had to rank Stupid Government Programs in order of stupidity, the CLASS Act would surely rank among the stupidest. The Community Living Assistance Service and Supports (CLASS) Act is a long-term care insurance program and quasi-entitlement attached the last year's health care overhaul despite the fact that every reputable analyst deemed it unworkable and unsustainable. Medicare's own chief actuary has said that there's "a very serious risk" the program will be "unsustainable." According to the Congressional Budget Office, the fiscal bleeding is scheduled to start just beyond the ten-year budget window, at which point "the program would add to future federal budget deficits in a large and growing fashion." But because the program starts collecting premiums right away and paying benefits down the road, the CBO was required to score it as reducing the deficit in the first decade, which is why it got grafted onto ObamaCare. Without CLASS, the health care law loses about $70 billion of its alleged deficit reduction.

The program is so stupid that even Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been forced to acknowledge its design flaws: In February, she told members of Congress that the Obama administration  "very much share[s] the concerns that have been expressed that, as written into the law, the framework of the program was not sustainable." It doesn't even meet the act's own sustainability requirements:  "We determined pretty quickly that it would not meet the requirement that the act be self-sustaining and not rely on taxpayer assistance," Sebelius has said.

So as it stands, the program is an unworkable, unsustainable deficit-hiking fiscal mess, and the Obama administration clearly knows it. What then does the administration want to do about it? Spend taxpayer money branding and advertising the program, it seems. In a letter to Sebelius, GOP Sens. Richard Shelby and John Thune point to a request that HHS has put in for a quote for outside contractor assistance with "Developing a Strategic Brand for CLASS."

Obama's own fiscal commission last year recommended shuttering the program completely. And one of the best parts about the Gang of Six bipartisan budget compromise released yesterday is that it follows suit by closing CLASS for good. The administration doesn't need a "strategic brand" for CLASS. It needs a stop work order.

NEXT: Cuba Carefully Doles Out GLBT Rights

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So as it stands, the program is an unworkable, unsustainable deficit-hiking fiscal mess

    In other words, it’s just like every other government program.

  2. Just because something is proven not to work doesn’t mean you can’t make money selling it. Advertising is eesential in pushing your non-effective product.

    1. Just look at Windows.

  3. The acronyms have to be a deliberate insult to our intelligence at this point. These clowns can’t seriously believe calling this piece of shit a “CLASS act” makes it easier to swallow. It’s got to be an intentional “fuck you.”

  4. “But because the program starts collecting premiums right away and paying benefits down the road, the CBO was required to score it as reducing the deficit in the first decade, which is why it got grafted onto ObamaCare. Without CLASS, the health care law loses about $70 billion of its alleged deficit reduction.”

    Again, Obamacare was passed on a tissue of lies, that everyone around knew were lies, but Obama and the Dems are not going to get their feet held to the fire (except here and other media outliers) because the Progs are too in love with “health care reform”.

  5. One of these days they’re going to push me over the edge with one of these acronyms.

    We need a Find Unknown Corporate Kleptocrats In Training Act.

  6. The Community Living Assistance Service and Supports (CLASS) Act is a long-term care insurance program and quasi-entitlement attached the last year’s health care overhaul despite the fact that every reputable analyst deemed it unworkable and unsustainable.

    Unsustainable, yes. But is it polluting?

    Because if not, then the Tonys of the world will not have any beef against it.

  7. tha makes a lot of sense when you think about it. WOw.

    http://www.net-privacy.us.tc

  8. Government program aside….Michelle Obama looks awful in that photo….so pale….so drawn.

    1. Yeah, but who’s that silver-haired old lady she’s holding hands with?

      1. I don’t know…. looks a little bit like famed wrestler Ric Flair. Didn’t know he swung that way.

  9. According to the CBO link in the post it would reduce the deficit by $58 Billion, not $70B as cited in the article.

    I question the editor’s choice of the term “quasi entitlement”. What does it mean? This program is a straight up government run insurance program that looks to be optional. I don’t think it could be called an entitlement in the same way the Social Security, Medicare and a standing army is an entitlement.

  10. Let me tell you one thing that the best health insurance plans has completely different set of meaning for different type of people. For those who are rich, the plan which can earn them more is best. However, those who are in the middle class have different ideas. They think that insurance plan is the best for which they will have to pay minimum premium. However, the poor person does not even know that what is health insurance? If you are one of them search online for “Penny Health” and get smart about insurance.

  11. But for many hardworking families, affordable insurance can be hard to find. The new “Penny Health” is giving you more control over your family’s health care by expanding your options for health insurance and making them more affordable.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.