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
White House Ditches Part of Health Care Overhaul
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.

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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. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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