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Like a terminally-ill patient, President Barack Obama‘s signature health care “reform” bill, promoted and passed with so much hoopla early in his struggling presidency, is dying a slow, painful death.
The fatal blows come as more and more of the plan prove unworkable.
“The trouble began even before the bill was passed,” says Democratic strategist Peter Nelson. “The health insurance lobby wrote the bill and that doomed it from the start. The president backtracked on public option. That was the beginning of the end.”
Supreme Court justices meet this month to consider whether or not to hear various legal challenges to the constitutionality of the law, particularly the section that requires Americans to buy some form of health insurance if it is not provided by employees or through Medicare.
The Department of Health & Human Services in October deemed that a major part of the “reform,” a long-term health care provision for seniors, was both unworkable and financially unsound.
HHS said it could not find a way to make the program “financially sound” for 75 years, as required by the law.
Called CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports), the program was aimed at providing affordable long-term health care at home as an alternative to expensive nursinghome or assisted-living facilities.
The Obama administration admitted that the HHS assessment was valid and scrapped the provision.
Republicans jumped on the situation as proof that the entire law was too expensive and unworkable.
“The bill needed more scrutiny,” says New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg, who added the actuarial review as part of the bill during consideration. “Had the whole bill been subject to the accounting and actuarial review that the CLASS Act was, it would not have survived either.”
The piece-by-piece dismantling of the health care act could become a major problem for Obama and Democrats as they head into a tough election season for 2012.