Last Wednesday, the House voted 267-159 to repeal the CLASS Act, the federal long-term care insurance program that was part and parcel of the President’s health care reform law. The law was widely denounced as unsustainable by both parties. The fiscal watchdog Concord Coalition called it a poorly designed “gimmick.” Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., called it “a Ponzi scheme of the first order.” Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., warned that CLASS would be “financially upside down in a very short period of time.” Indeed, the program’s problems are readily apparent: with voluntary enrollment for workers over 18, the government insurance would have to charge higher premiums than private insurers, which can cherry-pick their customers. Then, to balance the books, the government plan would have to reduce benefits (in one proposal, the number dropped to as little as $10 per day.) Despite all these objections, the White House wants to keep the law alive. Asks Debra J. Saunders, “If the Obama administration won’t support eliminating a health care initiative that it knows cannot work, why should Americans trust the rest of Obamacare?”
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