Dec. 19, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER
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Thune: Stop CLASS Act Before It Adds to Budget Pains

Given all of the controversial pieces that the Obama administration shoved into its plan, it is no wonder that the American people have not embraced it. The law issued a constitutionally suspect mandate that people buy insurance and double-counted revenues to both pay for Medicare and offset other costs. All that was bad enough.

But by adding a new entitlement program that they knew was doomed to fail, just so they could claim credit for its short-term financial benefits, Democrats engaged in their most cynical ploy yet.

Saddling future generations with another costly entitlement program just to win a short-term political gain is irresponsible. If the CLASS Act cannot sustain itself in the long run without taxpayer dollars, we should shut it down now before it has a chance to get going. After people start paying premiums into the system, or start collecting benefits, it will be much more difficult to take it away.

I have introduced legislation that would repeal the CLASS Act provisions of the health care spending law so that we can avoid the inevitable train wreck when demands on the program exceed its income.

If we wait much longer, the wheels will be set in motion and all that will be left is to wait for the pain to show up in the federal budget. Our existing entitlements are well past the point of sustainability. We need to stop this bad program now before it makes things worse.

Sen. John Thune (S.D.) is chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, as well as a member of the Budget and Finance committees.

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