Class, for lack of a better comparison, is like bladder control: You either have it or you don’t. When it comes to forcing Obamacare upon America with dishonest gimmicks, the Democrats have no class. A major portion of Obamacare just collapsed under its own weight, and Democrats are forced to admit that Republicans were right about it all along.
The Orwellian-named CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) is a major entitlement program tucked quietly within the 2,700 pages of Obamacare. Its stated goal was to provide long-term care, principally nursing home care and home health visits. In reality, elderly in need became the unknowing pawns of Democrats who wanted a slick gimmick to balance the Obamacare books.
Consider just how thoroughly dishonest the Democrats have been. The White House falsely claimed that its health care overhaul would reduce the deficit. To make this appear to be true, it counted 10 years of CLASS incoming revenue but just five years of expenses. Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota admitted it was “a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing Bernie Madoff would have been proud of.” And then he voted for it. Classless.
“Totally unsustainable.” That’s how Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described the CLASS Act in sworn testimony before the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year. Then she continued to foist it upon America anyway. Classless.
But a funny thing happened along the way to the Democrats’ health care utopia. The stubbornly inescapable and elegantly simple Stein’s Law, named for the late economist Herbert Stein, kicked in with a vengeance: “Things that can’t go on forever, don’t.” Collecting 10 years of revenues for every five years of expenses can’t go on forever, and now even HHS admits there is “no viable path forward” for the CLASS Act. Despite HHS’ fatal prognosis for the program, it wants to keep the program on the books anyway so at some point it can attempt a resurrection. Classless.
“No viable path forward.” Remember that phrase because you’ll be hearing it more often as the rest of Obamacare faces its own day of reckoning with Stein’s Law. The CLASS Act collapse is a harbinger of things to come, and two lessons are critically important:
First, the CLASS Act is nonviable for the same reason that the rest of Obamacare is nonviable: There simply isn’t enough of other people’s money to pay for it. Obamacare is propped up by the individual mandate, which forces would-be free Americans to purchase far more health insurance than they need as an obvious means to transfer wealth. Because Obamacare doles out welfare goodies to families earning up to $88,500 a year - imagine that - a whole lot of wealth needs to be transferred. The individual mandate, as currently adjudicated in federal court, has been ruled unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court resurrects the mandate, it’s likely an even higher court - the voters - will strike it down.
Let’s hope the Supreme Court, particularly in light of the CLASS Act collapse, has the wisdom of Solomon and rejects the ill-advised urge to split this baby in half. As U.S. federal Judge Roger Vinson ruled, it’s not enough simply to discard the individual mandate and hope the rest will survive. After all, the White House itself has declared that the individual mandate and the remainder of the law are “inseparably linked.” The collapse of the CLASS Act, absent its own individual mandate, is proof positive.
Second, the Democrats, from President Obama on down, were willfully and demonstrably dishonest while peddling Obamacare to the nation. There’s just no way around this fact. There’s no amount of nuance that can escape this reality: The Democrats lied. They should be reminded of this every time they try to peddle more laws. So when Vice President Joseph R. Biden claims, for example, that rapes and murders will increase if the president’s latest stimulus plan isn’t passed - an absurd claim, a four-Pinocchio whopper according to one liberal newspaper - he has forfeited any presumption of honesty. When Obama administration officials make claims, the burden of proof is on them, and until veracity can be independently confirmed, their claims deserve to be discounted. The Democrats are well into fool-me-twice territory.
Obamacare will not survive. Even if this ill-conceived law does somehow miraculously withstand the potent legal and political challenges, it cannot survive the unforgiving laws of economics. So when the president forces an unconstitutional law on the nation against the clear will of the majority of Americans and it is proving itself to be wholly unsustainable, there’s really only one conclusion you can reach about Obamacare: “No viable path forward.”
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.