Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, joined his Republican colleagues in passing H.R. 1173, which repeals the flawed and now defunct Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act). The bill passed 267 to 159.
The CLASS program, a new entitlement program for long-term care insurance, was instituted as a part of President Obama’s health care bill, but has since been deemed by the Administration to be an unsustainable program which cannot be implemented.
“The CLASS program is the kind of law you get when legislation is not properly vetted, but instead is written behind closed doors in an uncontrolled and hectic process,” said Simpson. “However, some continue to support the program despite the Obama Administration’s admittance that it is unworkable and a leading Senate Democrat calling it a ‘Ponzi scheme.’”
The numbers behind CLASS’s flaws are stark. Although it was sold as self-sustaining, some analysts estimate that to just break even it would need premiums to be $3,000 dollars per month, or, if it were more reasonably priced, it would need 230 million Americans (more than the entire workforce) to participate. Neither of those scenarios is likely, but they do illustrate how flawed the program is. That said, many fear that the Obama Administration or future administrations could attempt to make the CLASS program mandatory to make it sustainable. Repealing it now would take away that possibility.
“The real disappointment with the CLASS program is that those who need care over the long term deserve better. CLASS was never a solution that would work for them. It was filled with budget gimmicks, and it has only distracted from the real problem that still exists today. Long-term care is incredibly expensive, and a gap in the health care system means these folks often end up on Medicaid – further straining its resources.” Simpson added, “I look forward to Congress moving past the failed CLASS program and developing real solutions to these urgent challenges.”
The bill moves to the Senate for consideration.