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Publicly, the administration maintained it would all work out. A December 2009 presentation for senior officials stressed the end result would be a financially robust program.

In private, administration insiders were still spelling out concerns. In January 2010, amid the final drive to pass the health care law through a divided Congress, officials circulated a 10-page list of “technical corrections.” One item questioned whether the law gave HHS sufficient authority to redesign the program to keep it afloat, and recommended a “failsafe” clause spelling that out.

Republicans say none of those changes were ever made. However, HHS spokesman Sorian said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will not go forward with the program unless it is financially sustainable, and the law explicitly gives her that power.

GOP lawmakers aren’t reassured.

“The CLASS program is fiscally unsound and was used as a budget gimmick in the health care law,” said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., called it “a ticking time bomb that will place taxpayers’ money at risk.”

A GOP report on the CLASS program is expected to be released Thursday.