CBO expects delay in new healthcare program

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Republicans have been particularly critical of the CLASS program, which helped offset the cost of the healthcare law because it only collects money for most of the 10-year window that CBO uses to score legislation. They see it as an accounting gimmick, but aides have also acknowledged that the same on-paper savings would make it difficult to repeal.

Officials in the Health and Human Services Department have acknowledged concerns about the CLASS program and said they’re considering changes to ensure its solvency. Administration on Aging Secretary Kathy Greenlee told a House committee earlier this year that HHS won’t implement CLASS unless the department is sure the program will be self-sustaining.

But even some of HHS’s proposals to fix the CLASS program have raised eyebrows. State lawmakers recently questioned whether HHS might have to raise premiums to the point that relatively healthy people don’t want to participate.