Rep. Lipinski Applauds Decision to End Fiscally Unsustainable Provision of Health Care Law

Today, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) issued the following statement on the decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to prevent implementation of the CLASS Act, a long-term care insurance program that was part of the health care law. Rep. Lipinski had warned from the beginning that the program was fiscally unsustainable and doomed to insolvency.

“At least in one respect, this decision is not in the least surprising,” said Rep. Lipinski, who voted against the health care law. “Experts had labeled the CLASS Act a fiscal disaster from inception. There was no way it could survive on its own, as I pointed out even before the health care law was voted on. In March, I joined with two of my colleagues from across the aisle – Reps. Charles Boustany Jr. (La.) and Phil Gingrey (Ga.) – to introduce legislation to eliminate the CLASS Act. While it took HHS 19 months to realize what had been clear from the beginning, I am glad that it finally arrived at the conclusion that the program was beyond repair and made the decision to end it before it began.”

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act created a fatally flawed long-term care insurance program. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the CLASS Act would add at least tens of billions of dollars to the federal deficit every decade after 20 years. The Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found the program faced “a very serious risk” of entering an “insurance death spiral.” President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – the “Bowles-Simpson Debt Commission” – agreed, observing that the act is “viewed by many experts as financially unsound” and threatened to “collapse under its own weight.”

“It is unfortunate that more care was not taken in creating the health care law passed last year,” Lipinski said. “America needs real health care reform, but the bill that was passed was deeply flawed and failed to produce real reform for the middle class. I will continue working to change the current law to ensure it works for American families who are struggling through very difficult economic times.”

Rep. Lipinski had helped to introduce the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act, H.R. 1173, to eliminate the CLASS Act.

(October 14, 2011)