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Bryan Preston

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September 15, 2011 - 10:02 am

Daily Caller’s Amanda Carey has the story:

According to a report released Thursday by a working group of congressional investigators, officials inside the Department of Health and Human Services ignored numerous red flags about the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program (CLASS) — and in some cases the officials went to work figuring out how to hide them.

Now, those same officials are scrambling to come up with the financing of the long-term care insurance program — the brainchild of the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts — which Republicans on Capitol Hill are trying to repeal.

When the Congressional Budget Office scored the program, analysts said it would account for $70 billion in deficit reduction over ten years. However, that was because those enrolled in the program won’t be able to start receiving benefits until five years into that ten-year period.

The program’s architects assumed it would take in more money than it paid out. And the $70 billion in savings became a crucial selling point that helped secure the bill’s passage.

The congressional working group, however, found that since the program is voluntary it would likely see more unhealthy participants than healthy ones. That means more payouts and less revenue. In the long run, that imbalance puts the CLASS program on a path to financial disaster.

In May 2009, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief actuary Rick Foster wrote an email about that exact sticking point, saying it could be a “terminal problem for this proposal” and “a classic ‘assessment spiral’ or ‘insurance death spiral’ would ensue.”

“The program is intended to be ‘actuarially sound,’ but at first glance this goal may be impossible,” Foster added.

In the summer of 2009, Foster and a legislative staffer exchanged emails. At that time, the actuary’s doubts about the program hadn’t changed.

“I’m sorry to report that I remain very doubtful that this proposal is sustainable at the specified premium and benefit amounts,” read one email, according to the report. “Thirty-six years of actuarial experience lead me to believe that this program would collapse in short order and require significant federal subsidies to continue.”

Foster wasn’t exactly ignored. His concerns caused a change and brought out the cone of silence.

Later documents show that the program’s architects relied on flawed modeling and underestimated administrative costs, and that HHS officials decided to address the issues by writing in a fail safe that would give the Secretary authority to modify the program during implementation so it would be fiscally sound.

Yet as the report points out, neither HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius nor any other staffer made these concerns public in the debate leading up to the eventual passage of the bill.

Right. Because we had to pass ObamaCare in order to find out what’s in it.

Here’s why I wonder whether this action constitutes a mere cover-up, which is bad enough and demands further investigation, or is evidence of an actual conspiracy. The left’s end game on health care is single payer, that single payer being the federal government. They know that single payer is not popular. They also know that it will take massive turmoil in the insurance industry to force the creation of a single payer system. Various leftwing activists and leaders have said as much over the years, including Barack Obama a few years before he became president.

You can see in Foster’s warnings that CLASS could cause a massive collapse. As Foster warned, such a collapse would then require massive federal subsidies to keep the program going. That would play right into the hands of single payer advocates.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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