CLASS Gets Expelled

by Avik Roy

Jim Capretta, Andrew Stiles, and others have written in these pages about the looming fiscal disaster that is CLASS, Obamacare’s long-term care entitlement. This morning, CLASS’s chief actuary — the official in charge of designing the program’s structure — sent out an e-mail stating that “HHS has decided to close down the CLASS Office effective tomorrow.” The actuary went on to tell National Journal that “all of the people [in the CLASS office] are being reassigned.”

As I describe on my Forbes blog, the White House says that reports of CLASS’s demise are “flat-out false,” and HHS is claiming that, “While the staff of the CLASS office has been reduced, reports that the CLASS office is closing are not accurate …We are continuing our analysis of this program … It is an open question whether the program will be implemented.”

However, it’s not obvious how you can lay off and/or reassign everyone in the CLASS office, including the program’s most important official, and continue to run the program. A more likely explanation is that the administration wanted CLASS to die quietly. That way, they could minimize complaints from special interests, including AARP, for whom CLASS was essential to their support for Obamacare.

— Avik Roy is an equity research analyst at Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. in New York City. He blogs on health-care issues at The Apothecary.

Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.