Romney-Ryan might have an easier time attacking Obama Medicare cuts if their own weren't even bigger
The Obama Administration is pulling the plug on CLASS, the long-term insurance program within the Affordable Care Act. The announcement came late Friday, most likely because administration officials hoped to bury the news. They did not succeed, as Republicans and their supporters were all over it. Here, for example, was Senator John Thune of South Dakota: After ignoring repeated warnings from my Republican colleagues and me about the fiscal solvency of the CLASS Act, the Obama Administration jammed Obamacare through Congress in order to score a political win.
Here is my latest column for Kaiser Health News: Two weeks ago, before a lower federal judge in Florida declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, another relatively obscure government figure generated news about health care reform.
The most effective Republican arguments about health care reform lately have been about procedure, not policy. Over and over again, Republicans have accused Democrats of making shady backroom deals, of twisting the legislative process, and of trying to foist a secret plan on the country. From the looks of things, the attacks are working. In December and January, Scott Brown made many of these allegations in his successful run for the U.S. Senate.
Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment I’ve written before on the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) Act, an important but costly and complex disability provision in health reform. CLASS’s future may be determined this week. For the uninitiated, CLASS is a voluntary program in which workers can pay a monthly premium which would entitle them to monthly cash payments in the event of disability.
Last summer, President Bush and the Republican congressional leadership had a problem. The legislative linchpin of the president's reelection effort, a bill to add prescription-drug coverage to Medicare, lacked the votes in Congress, where conservative Republicans were chafing at the expense. GOP leaders finally secured a bare majority by consenting to the demands of 13 Republican House members, who agreed to vote yes if the cost would not exceed $400 billion over ten years.