Last week, the Obama administration decided that the CLASS Act, ObamaCare's long-term benefit, was a big enough stinker that the Department of Health and Human Services couldn't go forward with implementing it. "I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time," wrote HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
But just because there's no viable path forward and the administration has decided against implementation apparently doesn't mean that the program should be taken off the books.
This week, the administration officially went on record as being opposed to repealing the program, despite the CBO clearing the way earlier today. "We do not support repeal," an Obama administration official told The Hill earlier today. "Repealing the CLASS Act isn't necessary or productive. What we should be doing is working together to address the long-term care challenges we face in this country." Isn't one of those problems the fact that the administration signed off on a law that included a deficit gimmick masquerading as a long-term care benefit despite clear warnings from Medicare's actuaries that the program was destined for fiscal failure?
The White House appeared to waffle Monday on the fate of a financially troubled long-term care program in President Barack Obama's health overhaul law, as supporters and foes heaped criticism on the administration.
At stake is the CLASS Act, a major new program intended to provide affordable long-term care insurance. Last Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the administration would not proceed with the plan because she has been unable to find a way to make the program financially solvent.
On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a ruling that cleared the way for repealing the CLASS Act, but the administration rejected that step — and created considerable confusion. Backers and opponents said the White House is trying to have it both ways.
"I feel like somebody just called me about how to do really good pet care after they shot my dog," said Larry Minnix, president of LeadingAge, a trade group representing non-profit nursing homes, which are strong supporters of CLASS.