Obama Aborts Major Health Insurance Program
US President Barack Obama’s administration aborted a major health insurance program due to concerns about the program’s solvency. The aborted program has thus become the first victim of partisan policy and political wars over health care reform.
CLASS is Gone
Republicans trumpeted this was a major victory for American taxpayers. But, proponents of the program have vowed to fight on and rescue the plan. The program had planned to provide help for ailing seniors including nursing home care and home aides to help disabled people. This program was called CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports).
Program Not Viable
According to the plan, working adults would pay a monthly premium which would entitle them to daily benefit of a minimum $50 in their later years. They could use this cash to avail medical care at home or at nursing homes. But the flaw in CLASS was that if large numbers did not enroll in it, the premiums would soar because of the needs of ailing beneficiaries. This would destabilize the program, and cause a taxpayer bailout.
The Obama administration admitted this flaw in the program and acknowledged it can’t be fixed. Officials admitted CLASS cannot be made affordable and remain financially solvent. The monthly premiums would have been too high for it to be viable.
Ailing Seniors Need Medical Care
The aborting of CLASS is expected to have a positive effect on the government budget. It will reduce the federal deficit by around $80 billion over 10 years. But, seniors’ lobbies were unhappy with the demise of CLASS. They point out most families are unable to hire help for frail elders or pay their nursing home bills. Thus, there is a need to ensure adequate health care is provided to ailing seniors. But, Republicans are fighting to ensure CLASS is repealed forever.