White House Ditches Part of Health Care Overhaul
It pulls plug on insurance plan championed by Ted Kennedy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 14, 2011 3:50 PM CDT
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

(Newser) – The Obama administration says it is unable to go forward with a major program in the president's signature health care overhaul law—a long-term care insurance plan. Officials said today the long-term care program has critical design flaws that can't be fixed to make it financially self-sustaining. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress in a letter that she does not see a viable path forward at this time. By law, implementation of the program was contingent on Sebelius certifying it financially sound.

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program was supposed to be a voluntary insurance plan for working adults regardless of age or health. Workers would pay an affordable monthly premium during their careers, and could collect a modest daily cash benefit if they became disabled later in life. The problem all along has been how to ensure enough healthy people would sign up. CLASS, a longstanding priority of the late Ted Kennedy, was spliced into the health care law despite nagging budget worries.