CLASS Act RIP (and Good Riddance)

We did it!  We took down CLASS!

Today the White House officially pulled the plug on the CLASS Act, a key component of ObamaCare.

This is a huge development in the health care debate.

CLASS—a Great Society style home care entitlement authored by liberal lion Ted Kennedy—was enacted in 2010 as part of ObamaCare.

But CLASS was poorly designed and actuarially unsound, and represented a massive taxpayer bailout risk.

And the folks in President Obama’s HHS knew it.

But they gagged their own internal experts in 2009 and 2010, to keep the risk from being known publicly.

Had Congress and the American people known about the bailout risk, ObamaCare would very likely not have become law.

Last month, a congressional investigation finally exposed the internal warnings, and the White House’s stone wall began to crumble.

Even the socialized-medicine zealots in the Obama Administration could no longer deny the truth.

With the president’s poll numbers in the tank, and his reelection in serious doubt, they decided to cut their losses. The new home care entitlement had to go.

Today, they put out the announcement. They will not proceed with implementing this turkey. CLASS is dead.

This is a sweet victory for the many Americans who fought long and hard to stop ObamaCare from passing — and one tinged with bitter irony, because of CLASS’s key role in the law’s enactment.

The new entitlement had been added to ObamaCare as a budget gimmick. It had been purposely crafted to look like a revenue-generator during its first 5 years of operation, when the government would be collecting premiums from participants but not yet paying out benefits. This would make the federal books look better by some $70 billion during the period, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And this in turn had enabled congressional Democrats and the President to mask the law’s true costs. By appending CLASS to ObamaCare, they enabled themselves to crow that the controversial legislation “wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime.”

Well, their own actuaries knew otherwise, but couldn’t say so publicly. CLASS would have cost taxpayers trillions of dimes.

If not repealed, ObamaCare will cost us trillions of dollars, and more important, our freedom to control our own health care.

Meanwhile, the President’s egregious mishandling of this issue is already costing the nation billions, with premiums rising and some economists blaming the new law, which doesn’t take full effect for another two years, for continuing economic uncertainty and poor job growth.

Folks, the fall of CLASS is just the start.

In jettisoning this one flawed piece, the president’s advisors may think they’ve made their handiwork easier to preserve. But instead, they’ve confirmed their own cynicism, dishonesty, and wrongheadedness, and thus given momentum to the grassroots movement to replace the government takeover with a truly patient-centered system.

Congress should hold immediate hearings on this fiasco: What did the White House know, and when did they know it?

Meanwhile, we should savor this victory—as a taste of things to come.

(For more information, read our report on the CLASS Act coverup.)

Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks’ Legislative Counsel and VP Health Care Policy.


[Originally published at freedomworks.org, October 14, 2011. @FreedomWorks. Reposted at DeanClancy.com.]

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