Sen. John Thune’s attempt to block the CLASS Act, a government-run long-term care insurance program, was just defeated. Though Thune’s measure won the support of a majority of Senators by a 51 to 47 margin, it failed to reach the 60-vote threshhold required to alter the bill.
The CLASS Act, a program envisioned by Ted Kennedy, is essentially a new entitlement program contained within the larger health care entitlement bill. Should the health care bill become law, Americans would be enrolled in a governement-run insurance program in which they would pay premiums that would enable them to collect long-term care benefits down the road, though people would be allowed to opt out.
The program would start collecting premiums immediately but wouldn’t begin paying out benefits until 2016, so it would initially run a surplus. But the Congressional Budget Office said last month that, “In the decade following 2029, the CLASS program would begin to increase budget deficits.”
Even some Democratic Senators have had harsh words for the bill. The Washinton Post reported that Sen. Kent Conrad called it, “a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of.”
Conrad voted for the failed Thune amendment, along with nine other Democrats, and Joe Lieberman. Here‘s the full roll call.
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