House GOP takes another step toward CLASS repeal

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein

House Republicans took another step toward repealing the troubled long-term care program in President Obama's health care law that even his own administration has abandoned as unworkable.

Though the CLASS program won't be implemented by the administration because the Department of Health and Human Services could not find a way to make it sustainable, it still remains officially on the books.

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 33 to 17 to repeal it. The CLASS Act, a brainchild of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, was supposed to be a voluntary program in which individuals could pay premiums to earn long-term care benefits down the road, but multiple studies found it would be unsustainable because it would never attract enough participants.

When the repeal bill eventually gets to the House floor, it will present a difficult test for Democrats. On the one hand, they don't want to be on record voting for a provision of Obamacare that even the Obama administration has determined is unworkable. But on the other hand, they don't want to allow Republicans to claim that a large bipartisan majority voted to repeal a significant component of the health care law.

UPDATE: Three Democrats on the committee voted with Republicans in favor of repeal: Reps. Mike Ross of Arkansas, Jim Matheson of Utah and John Barrow of Georgia. All three of them voted against Obamacare itself in the last Congress.

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