Debra J. Saunders

With voluntary enrollment for workers 18 or older, the government insurance would have to charge higher premiums than private insurers, which can cherry-pick their customers. Then, to balance the books, the government plan would have to reduce benefits. Foster described the likely fallout as a classic insurance "death spiral," as high premiums drive away healthy consumers and the remaining customers drive up costs.

When the experts crunched the numbers, they found that premiums would have started at $354 per month -- far more than the $123 forecast by the Senate -- for a benefit less generous than those offered by private insurers. They even looked at cutting benefits to $10 a day.

In short, Congress had created a huge new government program that would be a drain on federal coffers for dubious benefit.

But Reid and Obama want to keep the CLASS Act on the books anyway. Reid and Obamaland think they can use the House repeal vote as evidence of a do-nothing mentality in the Republican-led body. As Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., wrote in Politico, "in our charged partisan environment, too many people ... view repealing CLASS as a tactical step toward undermining health care reform -- without putting forward any real alternatives." That's a very exalted way of defending a willful decision not to correct an avoidable error.

On Thursday, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., called for the Senate to vote on the House bill. "My fear has been all along that if we don't get this program off the books," said Thune, "that at some point there will be an attempt to resurrect it."

That seems like a reasonable fear. Nonpartisan watchdogs warned Congress about the perils of the CLASS Act, yet Congress passed it. The Obama administration has admitted that CLASS is not sustainable, yet the White House wants to keep the law on the books.

If the Obama administration won't support eliminating a health care initiative that it knows cannot work, why should Americans trust the rest of Obamacare?


Debra J. Saunders


 
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