Editor's Note: This column was written by Congressman Aaron Schock.
This week, I voted to repeal another piece of President Obama's unsustainable healthcare law - the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program. In addition to voting to repeal this legislation, I am a co-sponsor on the bill that would repeal this program. The CLASS program as written creates a new entitlement program designed to pay out social security style benefits to individuals who need assisted living services such as those provided by nursing homes.
However, the Administration was repeatedly warned when the program was originally designed that it would ultimately become another unfunded liability and a drain on future generations. Yet, despite these warnings, Congressional Democrats included the CLASS program in the health care law while simultaneously implementing a five year waiting period before paying a single dime out in benefits. When the experts crunched the numbers over a 75 year window, the same long-term projection used by Social Security, they discovered the program would become insolvent only a few years after enactment.
According to Richard Foster, the non-partisan, Chief Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, all of the savings the CLASS program builds up in the first five years of existence would be wiped away, "in the first few months of the 6th year." The Department of Health and Human Services tried 8 different methods of implementing this program, but all 8 failed because, "they did not significantly lower premiums or were deemed to be too complicated to implement." As a result, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the program would not go forward in October 2011.
This is not the first time Congress has acted to repeal a provision of the health care law. As you will recall, Congress repealed the 1099 tax provision last year, with both Democrats and Republicans united in opposition. President Obama even admitted this provision needed to be repealed to remove the financial burden that was about to be heaped on small businesses across the country. Unfortunately, these are the type of results we get when the Democrats in Congress rammed through a thousand page bill without reading it first.
This week's vote in the Ways and Means committee is the next step by Congress to permanently end another misguided policy by this Administration. The bipartisan vote achieved in the Ways and Means committee demonstrates the need to end this program and stop a government Ponzi scheme before it starts.