American Association for Long Term Care Insurance Director Comments on Congressional Report

The director of the national long term care insurance professional trade group has commented on the Congressional report examining the new CLASS Act.

Los Angeles, CA, September 17, 2011 --( The U.S. House and Senate committee investigating the new Federal long term care insurance program issued a report today detailing internal government communications concerned about the potential insolvency of what they refer to as a massive new entitlement program.

Included in the new health care law is a new long-term care insurance program called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act.

Documents obtained and included in the report reveal that the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was acutely aware that the program was unsustainable and suppressed this information from Congressional leaders and the American people prior to the passage of the law, all in the effort to achieve phony savings to offset the bill’s massive spending and taxpayer-funded price tag.

The report was issued by the Repeal CLASS Working Group that is comprised of Republican leadership in both the House and Senate charged with overseeing implementation of the new health care law.

"The President and the Democrats are in an impossible situation," explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the national trade group. "If Democrats throw CLASS under the bus, it opens the door for attacks on other aspects of healthcare law. If they defend what they know is an unsustainable program, they are open to political attack as the party who never met an unsustainable entitlement program they didn't like."

According to the Working Group’s key findings, senior Health and Human Services officials publicly pronounced the CLASS program solvent in the fall of 2009, even as their own employees were calling CLASS “a recipe for disaster” in internal emails.

“This report is further confirmation that the Obama Administration willfully chose to ignore the fiscal insolvency of the CLASS program in order to achieve a political victory by pushing the president’s health care bill through Congress,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), co-chair of the Working Group. “The CLASS Act is a ticking time bomb that will place taxpayers’ money at risk due to fatal flaws in the entitlement program’s design and structure. The American people had a right to know the information revealed in our report before they were put on the hook to pay for this massive new entitlement program.”

“The CLASS Act is billed as an insurance program for long-term care, but really it's just a huge and very costly government accounting trick,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “Remember Enron accounting? Well, I believe even Enron executives would be embarrassed by the accounting gimmicks created by the CLASS Act."

Slome adds that the eventual repeal or transformation of the CLASS Act will not eliminate the emerging national problem. "Our aging population will require more long term care than ever," Slome explains. "Most people have no plan in place and will become increasingly dependent on already strapped and limited taxpayer supported programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Our hope is that a solution that works for all is found and sooner rather than later."

American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance
Jesse Slome