By Doug Magill
As has now become common practice for the Obama administration, Friday saw another release of some pretty bad news. The administration’s intention, of course, was to avoid the attention of the 9 – 5 media and its audiences.
Mixed in with the somewhat surreptitious notification of the commitment of American troops to Uganda and another near-record deficit was the unsurprising news that the administration could not implement a major portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare.
The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program (CLASS), was intended to act as long-term care insurance. It was designed to be voluntary and require modest premiums. Why the government felt compelled to compete with the private insurance market in this area had everything to do with deceiving the electorate, and nothing to do with protecting seniors.
The main purpose of CLASS was to be one of the major financial supports for Obamacare, in that the projected excess of premiums over expenses would give the illusion that money was being saved.
Everyone who had studied the devious and dishonest tenets of the entire act knew that this portion was fraudulent. It would be particularly odious to taxpayers. Even before the program was signed into law the chief actuary for the department of Health and Human services had written that “this program would collapse in short order and require significant federal subsidies to continue.”
The only reason that CLASS was included – even though lawmakers knew it was unsustainable – was to give the illusion that Obamacare would somehow save money. The Congressional Budget Office, which scores major legislation for costs and potential savings, evaluated Obamacare over 10 years. So, by charging premiums for five years before paying any benefits the program would marvelously contribute $86 billion to the purported $143 billion savings of Obamacare over its first 10 years. Despite the fact that those premiums would be paid out in benefits, would be duplicative – and thereby would be dishonest.
The entire charade gives a whole new meaning to double-entry bookkeeping.
Those illusory savings have now vanished as the HHS accountants, after 18 months of effort, couldn’t find a way to transform the premiums into funds sufficient to fund the program for more than 10 years. In a letter to Congress HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote “I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation.”
Even after the plan became law, prominent democrat supporters acknowledged that the entire program was a disaster. They included Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) and Sebelius herself, along with Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster.
Aside from the depravity of the accounting gimmicks used in supporting this program, it is unconscionable that our elected representatives knowingly engaged in such incredible deceit.
And there is more to come, as the rest of Obamacare invites even greater scrutiny.
If a private enterprise perpetuated a fraud this massive and transparent there would have been an enormous outcry, if not criminal prosecution. The members of Congress that engaged in this classless deception deserve the same.
Doug Magill is a consultant, freelance writer, and voice-over talent. He can be reached at email@example.com