The CLASS Act was doomed before it began when Sen. Kent Conrad, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, called the new government entitlement program for long-term care payments “a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing Bernie Madoff would be proud of.” We offer below several of our contributions from this week to educate the debate as the House prepares to vote today on a bill that would repeal the CLASS Act.
Defend Freedom — Repeal CLASS
National Review Online: Critical Condition
By Grace-Marie Turner
Democratic senator Tom Harkin of Iowa may have inadvertently revealed why President Obama has pledged to veto efforts by Congress to repeal a part of ObamaCare that already has failed — the long-term-care entitlement program known as the CLASS Act.
“The problem with CLASS is that it’s voluntary,” Senator Harkin said on Tuesday.
In the liberal mind, the program would be fine if we were forced to pay into its long-term-care program. The president is determined to keep CLASS on the books, apparently hoping that the Supreme Court will declare the individual mandate constitutional, requiring us to purchase health insurance. If it does, then it would be only a small step to a new mandate for long-term care.
Repeal Of ObamaCare’s CLASS Act Is Essential
By Grace-Marie Turner
The Obama administration concluded in October that it saw “no viable path forward” to implementing the new entitlement program. Since participation is voluntary, it could not figure out a way to guarantee the program would be fiscally sound for 75 years without taxpayer bailouts, a requirement that Sen. Judd Gregg managed to get into the health law.
The news of the program’s demise was a slap in the face to CLASS advocates, who knew it was in trouble but were surprised that the program got a death certificate. A recent article lamenting the failure of the program inadvertently admitted the core problem with the law. Howard Gleckman of the Urban Institute wrote in the journal Health Affairs: “[T]he law allowed low-income people to purchase coverage for just $5 a month. That meant that many enrollees could pay just $300 over five years and receive at least $18,000 a year in benefits for the rest of their lives.”
Interview with Grace-Marie Turner
In this interview with Greg Corombos for Dateline: Washington, Grace-Marie explains the CLASS Act, why it is financially unfeasible, and the importance of the repeal effort.
Galen Institute president Grace-Marie Turner is available today to answer your questions about the CLASS Act and the repeal effort. You can get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-299-8900.