Obamacare

Obama Administration Dumps Bad News, Major ObamaCare Program

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Change we need.

CLASS is cancelled. The Obama administration now says that it will not go forward with the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, a long-term care benefit attached to ObamaCare that was responsible for roughly half of the law's scored deficit reduction. In a letter to Republican House Speaker John Boehner, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote that "despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time." More from the AP:

The Obama administration says it is unable to go forward with a major program in the president's signature health care overhaul law—a new long-term care insurance plan.

Officials said Friday the long-term care program has critical design flaws that can't be fixed to make it financially self-sustaining.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress in a letter that she does not see a viable path forward at this time. By law, implementation of the program was contingent on Sebelius certifying it financially sound.

According to The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff, HHS has admitted that the original methodology used to create CLASS projections was "quite thin," and will adjust ObamaCare's revenue estimates accordingly.

What that means is that of the original $143 billion in scored deficit reduction the Congressional Budget Office gave ObamaCare for its first decade of existence (2010-2019), $70 billion is now gone.

(Those estimates have since been updated so that they continue to extend forward by a full decade: Between 2012 and 2021, CBO recently projected that ObamaCare will reduce the deficit by $210 billion, with $86 billion coming from CLASS.)

Much more on CLASS here, here, here, and here

Headline shamelessly recycled from Ben Domenech's twitter feed

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  1. While I realize that the PPACA is one of the worst written laws in the history of this country… this law WAS passed by Congress. If it included provisions for CLASS, can someone please explain to me how the Executive branch can arbitrarily chose NOT to implement it?

    1. Just going by what’s happened in the past, I think this is another law that creates agencies that are managed by the President. In other words, Congress once again ceded their power to the President, who can dictate regulations instead of having to go through the trouble of passing laws.

    2. The short answer is Congress ceded all authority to HHS via the legislation (I have a colleague who actually read the bill), and yes, the executive branch can do whatever it wishes with this legislation. The phrase “The secretary shall determine…” is quite the catch all.

      Exhibit A) Arbitrary waivers.

      Exhibit B) Arbitrarily mandating levels of coverage (read: women’s health) essentially at will.

      And there’s more political expediency to come.

      1. Of course, if the act delegated the power to the President, his decision to not implement it is non-binding. After the 2012 election, he could suddenly decide to revive it. Or some future President could.

        I’ve seen too many horror movies to fall for this. I’ll believe it’s dead when the repeal act passes.

        1. I have a colleague who actually read the bill

          This person obviously has a 140+ IQ, the patience of a saint, or both.

          1. Dr. Mike Ritze MD; he’s a pretty sharp cookie and said it took him about a week, and devoted almost the entire weekend within that week for the bulk of the reading. The words “diabolical, grossly convoluted, and unworkable” were mentioned often.

            He is also serves as a state rep and has been really on top of the state exchanges, introducing nullification legislation, and was instrumental in leading the state population in forcing the governor to refuse $46 million in Fed money “earmarked” for both system upgrades and exchange implementation. (Though the state accepted money, a far less sum, from the HHS for a “feasibility study.” Fed money is fungible.)

            The thing that sucks is he won’t entertain MMJ legislation, citing that Marinol is more than sufficient for those wanting MMJ, and I vehemently disagree.

    3. “While I realize that the PPACA is one of the worst written laws in the history of this country… this law WAS passed by Congress. If it included provisions for CLASS, can someone please explain to me how the Executive branch can arbitrarily chose NOT to implement it?”

      Written into the law are certain financing benchmarks that must be met. I don’t know the details but something like funded for 75 years or until 2075. Anyway, it clearly (now even to its advocates) can’t meet that criteria, so IT MUST be deleted from the program.

      “By law, implementation of the program was contingent on Sebelius certifying it financially sound.”

      Believe you me, the executive branch would not cancel it if given a choice.

      disclosure: I’ve never read the law and what I’ve written above is just shit I read somewhere and can’t give a citation.

      1. If more people on the internet were honest and gave this disclosure with every post, I imagine we’d see far less Godwinning…

        Thank you Copernicus.

  2. I’m sure this was just an exception. The rest of the law was probably very well written, and ObamaCare is still sound as a dollar!

    1. “sound as the dollar”

      Good one!

    2. Thanks for catching that.

  3. What that means is that of the original $143 billion in scored deficit reduction the Congressional Budget Office gave ObamaCare for its first decade of existence (2010-2019), $70 billion is now gone.

    Thankfully, since it’s all a sham, the deficit increase has be reduced.

  4. Announced on a Friday afternoon. Imagine that.

  5. Plagiarizing Ben Domenech? Say it ain’t so!

  6. You gotta repeal it before you know what’s in it. Right Nancy?

  7. “According to The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff, HHS has admitted that the original methodology used to create CLASS projections was “quite thin,” and will adjust ObamaCare’s revenue estimates accordingly.”

    I’m sure the revenue estimates will be ‘adjusted’.
    But I’m equally sure they’ll be more lies.

  8. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote that, “Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward.”

    Forward, backward…what’s the diff? Katey is teh skeletal hotness, amiright?

  9. “We have not identified a way to make Class work at this time,” Ms. Sebelius said.

    Among the many things the Obama administration can’t make work, ‘class’ is definitely one of them.

  10. “despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.”

    Anyone want to attempt a translation? Here’s mine:

    We have bullshitted and bullshitted, but apparently we cannot bullshit enough, and Math is a bitch. Now we’re taking our ball and going home.

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