– US Congressmen Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-Southwest Louisiana), Phil Gingrey (R-Northwest Georgia) and Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) today introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, a controversial component of the health-care law. Experts warn the poorly-crafted disability entitlement program would likely require a taxpayer bailout.
In previous testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, of which Boustany is a member, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius agreed the present framework of CLASS was not sustainable. She also made similar comments at recent Senate hearings, stating the program is unsustainable “absent massive taxpayer infusion” of funds. Alice Rivlin, a former Congressional Budget Office director wrote: “Since the CLASS program is a new unfunded entitlement, it should be repealed because it will increase the deficit over the long term.”
Experts, including the Congressional Budget Office, Medicare’s chief actuary, and the American Academy of Actuaries, warned Congress about the program before lawmakers slipped it into the new law. After calling the program “totally unsustainable,” Secretary Sebelius proposed to raise income requirements for the program’s eligibility. However, a memo obtained by Congressman Boustany from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service report outlines that she lacks legal authority to make this change and warns it could lead to lawsuits against the federal government.
“With or without this change, the CLASS program remains fatally flawed. Failure to repeal it now will harm taxpayers and individuals who depend on promises the program will fail to honor,” Boustany said.
“The CLASS Act is nothing more than a new entitlement nightmare created by ObamaCare,” said Rep. Gingrey. “Adding another entitlement is the last thing we should consider. With the challenges facing our two existing health care programs – Medicare and Medicaid – to add yet another governmentprogram during these difficult economic times is wholly irresponsible and blatantly ignores the American people’s demands for less spending and intrusion into private industry. By eliminating this program, our bill will prevent an unnecessary bureaucratic ordeal from burdening the American taxpayer.”
To pay for the massive new law, Congressional Democrats used the contributions to the program to fund other parts of the health care law. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), called the CLASS Act a “Ponzi scheme of the first order. The kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would be proud of.”
Congressman Boustany has been a leader in the fight against the health-care law, and has been a vocal proponent for real, effective change to the American health-care system. “We need a practical health-care plan to improve quality, reduce costs and expand effective coverage, while improving the doctor-patient relationship,” Boustany said. “I am committed to working with my colleagues until this is fully realized.”