Snap Fact #186
The House Of Representatives Votes To Repeal A Lifeless Provision Of "Obama Cares" Known As The CLASS Act!
The Rational Majority is on record that the Health Care Bill is far from perfect. One of the major reasons for this is the solid Republican wall of resistance that worked tirelessly from day one to defeat any version of Affordable Health Care.
Remember back to the tedious and difficult negotiations that kept the entire Congress held hostage month after month. The Republican strategy was to delay and cut in hopes to kill the entire effort; as they have done since Harry Truman’s presidency. In addition, they loaded the Bill with “Poison Pill” amendments and forced Bill weakening “compromises” from the Democrats.

Today’s SNAP-CAP is a tribute to the tenacity of President Obama and the huge victory that he accomplished in spite of a malicious opposition that continues until this day. Should the 113th Congress be Progressive the Health Care Bill will be improved in a way that builds on the existing benefits that Obama and his allies fought so hard to obtain for our citizens.

The CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act), a pet project of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, was a voluntary program where taxpayers could pay premiums for long-term care that would allow the taxpayer to get that cash later in life. It came with a five-year waiting period before it started to pay out benefits, but it started collecting revenues immediately.

“The CLASS program is a unique, stand-alone program," an administration official said. "Long term care is important and it’s something we are committed to addressing, but drawing conclusions between this and other parts of the law simply doesn’t make sense.”

October 14th, 2011 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote a letter to Congress explaining that a 19-month “comprehensive analysis” of the CLASS program indicated that it was not viable as proposed. Premiums would have been too high to attract enough interest to keep the program afloat.

On February 1st, 2012, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the (lifeless) CLASS Act provision of the president’s health care reform law. So why did the House repeal the Act four months after it was relinquished? House Republicans wanted to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, but had to settle for taking it apart, piece by piece.

“The president’s health care law is making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers and provide insurance for their employees, and Republicans are committed to repealing and defunding it – piece by piece if necessary,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement after the vote. “The Democrats running Washington used the CLASS Act to mask the true cost of their government takeover of health care, but even the administration now admits CLASS is ‘unsustainable.’ The entire health care law – with its maze of red tape, mandates, and tax hikes – is unsustainable.

Boehner called on the Senate to “follow the House’s lead, scrap the law, and work with us to enact reforms that will actually lower health care costs without hurting small businesses and jeopardizing coverage for families.”

President Obama and the Democratic majority in the Senate were not in favor of repealing the CLASS Act (which would irrevocably destroy it). The president would not accept such action. So they kept it in its dormant state by never putting it up for a vote*. This would keep it available for necessary modifications to obtain an important and viable document, at a later time .

* The Senate bill contained something of a “poison pill” inserted at the behest of former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) that the program be fiscally viable and self supporting for 75 years into the future. [NatlJ] As with the Post Service pension fund, the GOP has decided that self supporting “viability” must be demonstrated for enrollees who have not yet been born.

The main points here are that the program was voluntary, and that the Budget Office estimated that the program would be net profitable. Once the prediction of profitability was reversed the opposition jumped on the CLASS Act as a vulnerable provision of ObamaCare. All Republicans were joined by several Democrats in the House to vote this provision down. Insidiously they used it to vilify the entire Bill that they so dislike.