While Republicans haven’t been able to repeal ObamaCare in its entirety like they’d hoped, it does continue to fall apart piece by piece as the Obama Administration axed part of the health care reform law at the end of last week:
Late Friday afternoon is the golden hour for making announcements that you hope won’t get much attention. The news coming out of the Department of Health and Human Services right now is no exception: The Obama administration has halted work on health reform’s Community Living Assistance Services and Support, or CLASS, Act after finding it too difficult to implement.
There has always been concern about the CLASS program’s long-term stability. The long-term insurance program relies on voluntary enrollment. If only a small group of unhealthy people — those who anticipate using the services — sign up, the program could quickly destabilize.
An actuarial review that Health and Human Services has just released confirms those fears: The administration could not design a long-term care program that would both hew to the health reform law — which requires that CLASS beneficiaries receive a minimum of $50 in benefits per day — and make the program actuarially sound.
Friday’s announcement wasn’t exactly unexpected, as numerous signs over the past few months have spelled trouble for the program. The CLASS Act’s chief actuary, Bob Yee, left the office last month as part of a larger reduction in staff. In ongoing budget negotiations, the Senate has not appropriated any funding for the act’s implementation.
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.)
Of course, this won’t stop supporters of ObamaCare from admitting that the administration and Democrats in Congress lied to Americans about the law’s impact on the budget, which was based largely on gimmicks and other rosy scenarios.