GOP demands HHS report on healthcare law's controversial CLASS program

Congressional Republicans are demanding access to an actuarial report on the embattled CLASS program created under the healthcare reform law.

The Health and Human Services Department said in a recent blog post that it has received an actuarial analysis of the CLASS program — a response to widespread concern that the program is insolvent and might not actually come to fruition.

But Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee say they’ve been unable to get a copy of the report from HHS. They formally requested a copy of the analysis in a letter to the department on Wednesday.

“The work this Committee is doing to improve the long-term health of our economy is too important to wait for HHS to decide when and how it will finally release this important information to the public,” the GOP lawmakers said in their letter.

They requested a copy of the report by noon Thursday.

The CLASS program was designed as a new insurance option for long-term care. It helped offset the official cost estimates of the healthcare reform law because it begins collecting premiums before paying out benefits, but it has faced persistent questions about financial solvency.

Those concerns intensified recently after Republicans released internal HHS e-mails in which officials said the program might be unsustainable or would require substantial changes. Officials from the CLASS office have also been reassigned, further heightening speculation that HHS might not try to get the program off the ground.

“Given this series of events, there is substantial confusion among the public, as evidenced by the reporting on this issue, and the members of this Committee about what the future holds for the CLASS Act and what actions the Committee should be considering with respect to relevant legislation and/or oversight,” the Republicans’ letter says.

HHS has said it will not implement CLASS if the program can’t sustain itself without dipping into tax revenues.