The Next Stage of the Health-Care Debate Staff
Posted: Mar 01, 2011 1:47 PM

The last few weeks have seen something of a tactical change in the Obama administration’s approach to defending the health-care bill enacted last year. In two instances, the administration has admitted that the law is a hugely problematic and burdensome mess and given the appearance of a willingness to do something about it. But in both cases, that willingness turns out to be far less than it seems. First, in a Senate Finance Committee hearing last month, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that the CLASS Act—which is the new entitlement program for long-term care in Obamacare—is “totally unsustainable” as it’s laid out in the law. She then repeated the point before the House Ways and Means Committee, saying “we very much share the concerns that have been expressed that, as written into law, the framework of the program was not sustainable.” She insisted, however, that the law gives her the flexibility to completely redesign the program on her own, without any new authority from Congress, and that she could do it in a way that would make the program less than totally unsustainable.