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Concord Coalition Warns That New Entitlement Is Not a Valid Health Care Reform Offset
Date:10/7/2009

ite this requirement the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) concluded in a July 2009 analysis of the Senate's version that: "the proposed structure and premium requirements within the CLASS Act plan are not sustainable. Due to its design and the high level of required premiums, the program is unlikely to cover more than a very small proportion of the intended population or achieve its goal of broad participation."(4)

In Concord's view, the dramatic increase in projected premiums for the program over the past several months indicate great uncertainty as to the program's stability and sustainability -- regardless of any formal requirement to be actuarially sound.

The Senate bill introduced in March 2009 set the first year monthly premium at $30. A later version more than doubled the premium to $65. The current version does not set a specific premium, however, the AAA concluded that an actuarially appropriate premium for the CLASS Act -- now required -- would range from $125 to $160. The CBO has reached a similar conclusion, stating "to be actuarially sound CBO believes that premiums would have to exceed the average dollar amount of $65 (adjusted annually for inflation) set by the legislation by $35 to $45."(5)

The AAA observed that if the premium "is set at the actuarially appropriate level, it would be difficult to enroll enough healthier and unsubsidized lives to keep the program sustainable."(6)

"The CLASS Act should not be slipped into a major health care reform bill with such scant attention paid to its basic structural flaws and potential fiscal consequences. Moreover, the thought that premiums for a costly new entitlement program could be used to satisfy a short-term deficit-neutrality goal is an outrage. Congress should not create another phony lock box to cover up its unwillingness to enact more legitimate offsets," Bixby said.

The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to
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SOURCE The Concord Coalition
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