CLASS-less Obamacare becomes more of a budget drain

File this under “Now they tell us.” From the Washington Post:

The Obama administration cut a major planned benefit from the 2010 health-care law on Friday, announcing that a program to offer Americans insurance for long-term care was simply unworkable. …

Because the insurance program had been projected to reduce the federal deficit by $86 billion over the next 10 years, terminating it complicates the nation’s budget picture. It is now estimated that the health-care law will cut the deficit by $124 billion from 2012 to 2021, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Actually, plenty of Obamacare opponents said from the beginning that the Community Living Assistance Services Act, better known as CLASS, was a two-fold sham. First, because it would be unworkable, as the Obama administration now concedes. And second, because it was included only as a numbers-rigging exercise to make Obamacare marketable as a net reduction in federal deficits.

In fact, doubts about the program’s viability — not some sudden epiphany about fiscal responsibility within the administration — are the reason CLASS is being dismissed. The Wall Street Journal explains:

The only reason the Health and Human Services Department pre-emptively called off this scheme is that former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg succeeded in inserting a proviso that required the Class program’s reality to match Democratic promises as a matter of law. If HHS couldn’t provide “an actuarial analysis of the 75-year costs of the program that ensures solvency throughout such 75-year period,” it couldn’t be legally implemented.

HHS couldn’t do that, and now anywhere from half to two-thirds of the supposed deficit savings (depending on which 10-year window you choose) is gone. The rest will follow soon enough.

Abandoning CLASS also highlights one of the other main criticisms of the law: that it was thrown together hastily so that President Obama and congressional Democrats could salvage something from nearly a year of bumbling, fumbling and stumbling toward health reform. And as we were all taught as children, haste makes waste.

It’s the latest example of why Nancy Pelosi’s “pass it to find out what’s in it” statement will go down in infamy. And it’s yet another reason for members of Congress with any sense to work toward repealing the entire law and replacing it. The WSJ suggests an excellent way of doing that: Make the Gregg amendment apply to the entire law.

Do that, and the law should be dead in the water before the Supreme Court even gets a crack at it next year.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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100 comments Add your comment

saywhat?

October 17th, 2011
1:04 pm

Bob, the word is “moot”. If you don’t understand anything as simple as English, how could you possibly expect people to believe you know anything about the Canadian economy? For one thing, the Canadians avoided tanking their economy because they did exactly the opposite of what W and the Republicans did when they were in power.

Obozonomics

October 17th, 2011
1:05 pm

Jefferson, let me correct your ignorant statement; “The DNC, and Harry Reid, have blocked any Bills that the GOP brought up for a vote.”

Obozonomics

October 17th, 2011
1:06 pm

saywhat, you are free to move to Canada anytime you wish..Just STOP trying to make us a socialist country…

saywhat?

October 17th, 2011
1:07 pm

Rafe, was that German austerity program where they passed a bunch of legislation at their heavily unionized workforce, or got rid of their universal healthcare? I didn’t think so.

saywhat?

October 17th, 2011
1:09 pm

Funny at 1:06. Uses words he doesn’t know the definition of. Perhaps you and Bob can take remedial English together.

Dirty Dawg

October 17th, 2011
1:21 pm

Look Kyle, anything that’s lacking in the Healthcare Act, the one you and your cohorts insist on calling Obamacare, is due to Republican intransigence and dedication to the goal of making sure this President doesn’t do anything that helps people or the country….you POS.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 17th, 2011
1:28 pm

Perhaps Dirty Dawg can explain why a filibuster-proof Senate had to cave in any way to “Republican intransigence”. Democrats could have made Obozocare be whatever they wanted it to be.

Being liberal means never having to say I am responsible for my actions

October 17th, 2011
1:28 pm

Canada is moving towards more market-based choices in healthcare because people there are tired of waiting nine months to have a bunion removed. In other words, their health system sucks the teabag you stuck in your boyfriends’ mouth last night. Why is individual freedom and choice such a hard concept for you numbskulls to understand? It’s called competition and it has made us the envy of the FREE world. Why do you think foreigners want to come to the Cleveland Clinic for care? Duh……

hatorade drinkers

October 17th, 2011
1:37 pm

more cut and paste? nothing original from yourself as usual. at this rate you will be laid off by end of the year.

Big Barry (Revised Upward)

October 17th, 2011
1:45 pm

Kyle – you and your minions appear to be auditioning for parts in “dumberist, stupider and kompleetly ritarded – the sequel that came after the prequel but beefor the beginning”. As usual. You and them are so seriously nuts that I’m increasingly worried about be fate of humanity since humans, after evolving for millennia, appear to be regressing at an alarming rate. To the point where the very word ‘conservative’ has lost all meaning and should be replaced with ‘regressive’

Rafe Hollister

October 17th, 2011
1:56 pm

Big Barry, so you liked New Coke better than Classic Coke?

dixiedemons

October 17th, 2011
2:03 pm

“And it’s yet another reason for members of Congress with any sense to work toward repealing the entire law and replacing it.”

Our Lobbyist system of government will not allow career congressman to use common sense if they want $$$ for re-election. So they continue to dig and spin our nation into irrelevancy in the world order.

Big Barry (Revised Upward)

October 17th, 2011
2:04 pm

Raffish – given your regressive leanings, please consider changing your moniker to ‘rape holistically’. I’m off to enjoy an ice cold Pepsi on this glorious fall day. Ta.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 17th, 2011
2:13 pm

DEMOCRAT CALLS FOR A LIST OF THE RICH TO PRESSURE THEM TO ‘GIVE BACK’

Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former National Security Advisor to President Carter and a frequent guest on his daughter Mika’s MSNBC program, made a series of strange statements during his segment on “Morning Joe” earlier today.

Talking with the MSNBC crew about the concentration of wealth in America as motivation for “Occupy Wall Street,” Dr. Brzezinski seems to believe that publishing the names of people who make a lot of money would be helpful in redistributing wealth:

Brzezinski wants anyone making a lot of money to be pointed out, but a short time later he says he does not want Wall Street “demonized.” Then, he returns to his demonizing of people who legally earn a lot of money and spend it in ways that apparently he would not.

“We have to have disclosure.”
“We have to have transparency.”
“We have to have control.”
——————————————-

Democrats: Fascists.

Steve

October 17th, 2011
2:18 pm

I read the comments in here and I think – is this the script for a sequel to “Deliverance?”
Ignorance is what is going to kill this nation.
Our health care system is corrupt, full of middlemen, expensive, and broke. If you’re wealthy, you LOVE this system. But hey, we let the 1% run the rest of us. Look how well the 1% have brainwashed you cretins to like a system that only helps the 1%? Freaking amazing.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 17th, 2011
2:22 pm

If you’re letting the 1% run you, you’re a weak little man.

Halftrack

October 17th, 2011
2:32 pm

The WSJ suggests an excellent way of doing that: Make the Gregg amendment apply to the entire law.

Let’s urge our Congress to do that and put pressure on our Journalist so that “Bills” can be properly vetted before they are voted upon. Hindsight is making all of us look Dumb and Dumber.

#occupy my desk...

October 17th, 2011
2:41 pm

Can we stop with the “we are 99%” BS because even that logic is totally flawed. Turns out the top 1% control about 42% of wealth…but that doesn’t make a nearly dramatic enough sign… I think it’s funny that Obama has earned more campaign money than all repubs combined, with much of that coming from Wall Street and top corporations, and yet he somehow has the support of the OWS people.

Anyone else see the irony there?

Monroe Burbank

October 17th, 2011
2:56 pm

Who owns the Wall Street Journal? Oh, yeah, that’s right. The same folks who own Fox News.

Let’s just chunk the whole plan so us Georgia taxpayers can go back to paying about $500,000,000.00 per year to pay the health care bills for those who can’t afford to pay them. (Sorry if all the zeros confuse some of you.)

We require everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car to have auto insurance. We can’t require everyone who walks into a hospital for treatment to have health insurance?

Conservatives, at least those here in Georgia, have mastered the art of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 17th, 2011
3:00 pm

We can’t require everyone who walks into a hospital for treatment to have health insurance?
—————–

Actually, that would be fine with me!

Dusty

October 17th, 2011
3:02 pm

Well, I knew that sooner or later someone would blame Bush for not having free healthcare for the youngest citizen to the oldest grandma.

Sure ’nuff, here comes “waywhat?” to sing the same ol’ Dem song. Goes like this: “Nobody loves me. Everybody hates me. I’m gonna eat some worms and Bush did it!”

Will they ever realize who is the president now breaking the bank and leading the country to bankruptcy while claiming it is for the poor and helpless?

If Obama stays in office much longer we will all be poor and helpless. He won’t be poor because he is one of the rich he so discriminates against. Needless to say or whatever happens, he will continue to be rich. Haven’t heard of him giving his riches away. Just other people’s money.

Cliff

October 17th, 2011
3:12 pm

This commentary doesn’t make any sense. How is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a drain on the budget, when it CUTS the budget by $124 billion? It’s not a budget drain at all. Repealing the Act would be a budget drain. Good luck finding $124 billion in cuts in the budget or new revenue, if you want to repeal the Act. By the way, you repeal the Act here are some of the things you lose, at the benefit of insurance companies:

Life time limits return – hello bankruptcy if you need a liver transplant
Insurance companies will once again be able to exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions – Your wife had breast cancer? Sorry, not covered.
Insurance companies can drop you when you get really sick, so they don’t have to pay anything. Your child developed leukemia? Suck it, find another insurer, oh but wait, you have a pre-existing condition.

But yes, by all means repeal the Act that you don’t understand, because some moron on Fox News or talk radio has labeled it “Obamacare”, therefore it must be bad.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 17th, 2011
3:21 pm

Looks like ol’ Cliff will swallow just about anything.

Cliff, your Idiot Messiah is “repealing” his signature achievement all by himself, with thousands of waivers and now dropping a major part of it that was so clearly a disaster that he had to deep-six it.

Obozo: Fail.

Dusty

October 17th, 2011
3:23 pm

Lil Barry,

I don’t believe hospitals can set up insurance salesmen at the front door. But hospitals do not turn sick people away for any reason. They are not left lying in the streets as some seem to imply.

Good healthcare is expensive. Socialized medicine is mediocre. Seems like that is what we have to decide. Good healthcare or mediocre? Obama insists that we want mediocre. He is wrong as usual. Buying “cheap” has never given long wear.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 17th, 2011
3:24 pm

Monroe Burbank: We require everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car to have auto insurance. We can’t require everyone who walks into a hospital for treatment to have health insurance?
—————

Who pays for your auto insurance?

saywhat?

October 17th, 2011
3:27 pm

“It’s the latest example of why Nancy Pelosi’s “pass it to find out what’s in it” statement will go down in infamy.”

Way to slip a baldfaced lie into your column Wingfield. The ONLY reason Pelosi’s statement will go down in infamy is because liars like yourself will take it out of context and imply that it meant something completely different. The portion of the quote you conveniently forget to mention is “… outside the fog of controversy”, meaning, of course, that too many lies were being told regarding the bill for people to get trustworthy information about what was in the bill. Pelosi made the assumption that once the bill passed, low life scum bags would lose interest in lying about the bill with tall tales of death panels and socialism. You do a great job proving her wrong. I hope you are proud of yourself.

Socialism's grrrrrrrreat

October 17th, 2011
3:37 pm

saywhat? – lies, half truths and obfuscations are Wingfield’s stock in trade. He is incapable of anything different.

Cliff

October 17th, 2011
3:38 pm

Lil Barry:

You should consider using logic and coherence to make a point, rather than name calling and blasphemy. It’s much more effective. Furthermore, I have more fear and respect for the almighty, then to throw around “Messiah” as freely as you do.

Socialism's grrrrrrrreat

October 17th, 2011
3:42 pm

Dusty – western Europe has better outcomes (ie, quality of care) at a lower cost (ie, you spend less money to get it). Stop buying the lie being sold to you by the medical industrial complex that the quality of healthcare in America is better. Statistically speaks, ‘mericans are fatter, unhealthier and stupider than their western European counterparts. But you go on believing the joke that is ‘Merican exceptionalism and supply side economics.

Kyle Wingfield

October 17th, 2011
3:42 pm

saywhat: Spin it however you want. Pelosi’s statement is wholly consistent with her efforts to pass the bill by any parliamentary tricks necessary, to end the debate.

And whatever you think of the “lying about the bill” before its passage, all of the unpleasant discoveries since then have, unfortunately, been based on reality.

Socialism's grrrrrrrreat

October 17th, 2011
3:43 pm

Lil brainfreeze – irony probably is that your annual household income doesn’t exceed $30k

Kyle Wingfield

October 17th, 2011
3:49 pm

Cliff: How is it a drain on the budget? Because experience so far suggests the rest of the “savings” will prove just as illusory as the CLASS “savings” did.

Socialism's grrrrrrrreat

October 17th, 2011
3:50 pm

‘tricks’ Kyle? What’s tricky about a majority in the house and a supermajority in the senate? Can you spell ‘doofus’? ‘unpleasant discoveries since then’? Its meaningful provisions haven’t come into effect yet. Maybe it won’t work; more likely that it will, however. But you morons won’t give it or anything else a chance. Moron that you are. And liar.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 17th, 2011
3:52 pm

Sorry to disappoint, Socialism’s, but it does. I know all you libs like to think that “karma’s a bitch” and that the meek shall inherit the earth, but you only believe those things to justify your own lack of success.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 17th, 2011
3:53 pm

If Obozocare worked, he wouldn’t be waiving it for thousands of companies and labor unions. If it worked, they’d all be rushing to embrace it.

Obozocare: Fail.

Socialism's grrrrrrrreat

October 17th, 2011
4:01 pm

Lil brainfart – gates; jobs; Buffett. Yep, failures each and every one of them. Liberals, too. It’s clear you know nothing about the affordable care act other than what’s fed to you by fox news, which makes your positions understandable but no less reprehensible. You really are a pig.

Socialism's grrrrrrrreat

October 17th, 2011
4:37 pm

What, lil brainfart, no retort? Cat got your tongue? Or you are stymied by ‘inconvenient’ facts? I think the latter. :)

Rafe Hollister

October 17th, 2011
5:37 pm

Kyle, I thought you were going to ban these name callers, i.e. people like Socialism’s great. He certainly is adding nothing intellectual to this blog.

MarkV

October 17th, 2011
6:02 pm

Bob @11:34 am: “I would rather be in the smaller pool with the responsible adults then in the large pond of leaches.”

As if you could choose with a private health insurance company.

MarkV

October 17th, 2011
6:03 pm

resno2 @12:02 pm:
“Who does really it tell alot about when 50% of the supposed healthcare savings was wrapped up into a scheme that they had to have know at the time was not financially sustainable?”

First, you should check your math. Second, hindsight is always 20-20.

hryder

October 17th, 2011
6:28 pm

Far too many folks want others to pay their financial desires. Funds which they possess they expect fo use all of for discretionary spending. This is BS(male bovine excrement), MS(more of BS) and PhD(piled higher and deeper). You want health insurance, a house, a car, food, clothing, etc., then you pay for it. The USA is broke! When 40% of welfare recipients own a home, a big screen TV, air conditioning, and a minimum of one automobile something is tremendously wrong. #*^@<#&* politicians just keep on buying votes to remain in POWER!

Bella

October 17th, 2011
6:42 pm

CLASS wasn’t feasible because it was a voluntary program. Saying that the entire act should be repealed because of that is pretty weak. If CLASS were mandated, like general health insurance under health reform, it would be feasible. Not that I want CLASS to be mandated . . . But don’t pretend the feasibility issues of CLASS can be applied to general healthcare reform.

saywhat?

October 17th, 2011
6:51 pm

Spin it any way *I* want? *I*want? Slow down, Wingfield, before you get any more dizzy.Pelosi’s statement had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with how the bill was passed. Your statement however, IS consistent with the misinformation she was decrying.

Man up, if you can, and admit you misused Pelosi’s quote, and in a dishonest manner.

As for any “unpleasant discoveries”, this is the only one of any real consequence that I have heard of. Despite this set back, the benefits of the bill still far outway any negatives in my view.

saywhat?

October 17th, 2011
7:27 pm

I am confident that one day Wingfield had this thought run through his head: “Someday when I have my own blog, I hope my post count will be inflated by a single moronic poster, repeating endless variations of the same idiocies over and over again every day. Then I will truly be happy”.

L Dodd

October 18th, 2011
12:23 am

Obamacare is, in my opinion, the WRONG way for a compassionate society to provide medical care to those that cannot afford it.

It would make more sense to provide care (what and how much for per problem and/or per person up for debate but definitly within set financial limits) via block grants to states and have the states provide the needed care on a sliding fee scale via their existing city/county health departments and any willing charity providers. Within the bounds of reason (up for debate), require all medical professional entities and all doctors to participate in providing care–directly and/or via license and/or other fees (and/or w/option for them to pay $ (amount up for debate) to be exempt from directly providing care) to stay in business w/i the state. Amounts always up for debate and subject to change, of course, as each new batch of polititions gets elected.

[...] the right thing to doSan Francisco ChronicleWhite House waffling on long-term care plan?BusinessWeekAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Washington Post -Boston Globeall 402 news [...]

Gm

October 19th, 2011
5:15 pm

Hail to President Obama for doing something for the 30 million that has no heath covergage: for those who are against hope you or no one in your family has cancer or some other dreaded pre condition illness, and can not get coverage and you have lost your job.

Blame Obama care because Obama really cares, use this as a excuse for not hiring Americans and sending our jobs overseas, rep party are a bunch of selfish sickos, God has a way of dealing with people who prey on helpless people, oh and by the way the ones that are against Obama care are the ones that run to church and cry they are chritians”””’

RonB

October 19th, 2011
5:56 pm

Kyle, I don’t see where you ever gave President Obama or Health or Human Services any credit for getting the High Risk Insurance Program (PCIP.gov) up and running at break-neck speed and shockingly under budget. To date, roughly only 2% of the 5 billion dollars budgeted to provide subsidies for the program (to 2014) has been spent.

All that fear mongering that the money was going to run out within a year has been proven to be totally unfounded. Setting the prices of the PCIP insurance premiums at the FMV of individual policies sold in each state that opted out, FYI those were mostly red states notorious for having little to no consumer protections, and rip-off pricing, naturally caused lower enrollments in states like Georgia. If our Insurance Commission had only fought to run our own state’s PCIP program like Pennsylvania did, we could have lowered the insurance premium rates for the high risk pool, thus upped the enrollment of those otherwise uninsurable. We could have hired Georgians to work Georgian claims.

While you, and Senator McCain were nearly, if not out right calling President Obama a liar when he and the CBO projected the government could run the new high risk pool until 1/1/2014 on 5 billion dollars lives were needlessly being lost all across this country; nearly every year, nearly 40,000 people lose their lives because they were denied access to health care insurance. For those who think all you have to do is go to a hospital to get care, understand this: You can’t get chemotherapy in an emergency room.

Let’s get real. It is time for the Republicans to put their “repeal and replace” health care plan on the table. Are you really going to put the PCIP enrollees, some 30,000+ previously uninsurable folks out on the streets to die, with no other options, just so you can win politically?

Kyle Wingfield

October 19th, 2011
6:11 pm

RonB: You’re right, the pools haven’t proven to be underfunded yet — because, on the contrary, they’ve been undersubscribed by about 92 percent (that is, 8 percent of the people expected to enroll have done so). Did we really need to pass such an enormous and unwieldy piece of legislation to help 30,000 people?

Oh, and as long as we’re “getting real” — HR 3400, to name but one bill, was introduced in the last Congress and has been re-introduced in this one. Just because you haven’t been looking at the table doesn’t mean nothing’s on it.

RonB

October 19th, 2011
11:17 pm

Thanks for the update on HR3400, I thought it was dead. It was not very popular amongst Republicans back in 2009, when first introduced (see other blogs on Google). There was some irony noted that a representation from Georgia, a state that has never implemented a high risk pool, was now coming forth with a federal tax credit plan for states that implemented high risk pools (when most all other states had done so, long, long, long ago). Those proposed Price tax credits are minuscule compared to the cost of insurance even though the PCIP plan. My wife and I currently pay about $15K a year for two PCIP policies, just for the insurance. If you add the deductibles of $2500 and $1000, it is closer to 20K before we see a dime of coverage. A $4000 refundable tax credit would be welcomed, but it will hardly increase the undersubscribed problem you mentioned. But, you really don’t care, how many uninsured die, do you? I don’t sense you do from your comment above.