GOP says CLASS Act shows healthcare law is deeply flawed

The controversial CLASS program won’t be the last piece of healthcare reform to fall apart, congressional Republicans said Friday.

The Health and Human Services Department announced Friday afternoon that it will not implement the CLASS Act, a new insurance program for long-term care that was included in the healthcare reform law. Officials acknowledged that the program was simply unworkable.

Republicans said the CLASS Act’s failure is just the beginning.

“This announcement is a canary in a coal mine,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement. “Today’s abandonment of the program is just the latest evidence demonstrating ObamaCare's devastating effects and ill-conceived policies. What will be next?”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) noted that CLASS was supposed to provide some 40 percent of the health law’s total deficit reduction. Republicans have long called the program an accounting gimmick.

“However, it is worth remembering that the CLASS Act is only one of the unwise, unsustainable components of an unwise, unsustainable law,” he said. “We should repeal the CLASS Act and the rest of the health spending law and replace it with the type of common-sense reforms that lower costs and Americans support.”

The White House said those implications are off-base. Although the CLASS Act would have provided substantial savings, it was a new and self-contained program that would not have been connected to other parts of the healthcare law.

“The CLASS program is a unique, stand-alone program," an administration official said. "Long term care is important and it’s something we are committed to addressing, but drawing conclusions between this and other parts of the law simply doesn’t make sense.”

— This post was updated at 6:10 p.m.