Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today called on the U.S. Senate to follow the House's action and repeal the health care law's CLASS Act after the House passed the measure by a bipartisan vote of 267 to 159.
"Both Republicans and Democrats in the House agree that the CLASS program is a ticking fiscal time bomb; a new entitlement program that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said was, 'totally unsustainable' financially," Lance said. "I call on leaders in the U.S. Senate to bring to the floor and pass this repeal measure so that we may begin to develop bipartisan solutions to address the issue of long-term care."
The bill supported by Lance -- H.R. 1173, the "Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2011" -- would repeal the financially troubled part of the 2010 health care law that was designed to provide affordable long-term care insurance known as the CLASS Act.
Lance noted that on October 14, 2011, after 19 months of review and $15 million later, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that financially speaking the CLASS program was, "totally unsustainable." And U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) has called the program, "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing Bernie Madoff would be proud of."
The Seventh District lawmaker added that the admission by HHS and others that the program was unsustainable should have come as no surprise.
"Many Members of Congress, independent analysts and actuaries raised concerns with the long-term solvency of the program before President Obama signed the health care bill into law," Lance said. "In fact, Richard Foster, the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wrote in 2009, "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.' Yet despite these warnings the Obama Administration went ahead nonetheless and used the CLASS Act to mask the true cost of the President's health care bill."
For his part, Congressman Leonard Lance supports replacing the health care law with common-sense fiscally responsible reforms that will lower health care costs, expand access and grow jobs. These reforms include allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, establishing high-risk insurance pools, limiting frivolous lawsuits and prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Lance is on the front lines of this effort.