Senator John Thune
U.S. taxpayers received some good news recently. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that she was dumping Obamacare's Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program, which was intended to provide government-run, long-term care insurance.
No one was especially surprised by her declaration that CLASS is a house of cards ready to tumble. After all, when Sebelius testified before the Senate Finance Committee in February, she had admitted that the program was "totally unsustainable."
So you would think President Barack Obama would agree with his HHS secretary and scrap the program.
But instead, the White House opted for confusion over clarity by signaling its opposition to repealing this provision. The administration even went a step further and reportedly called supporters of the program to say the White House was still committed to the idea, regardless of Sebelius's announcement.
The great divide within the Obama administration is perplexing - and a disservice to the American people.
Businesses require certainty so they can plan for the future and create jobs. Letting CLASS linger, with the potential to come back in an even more expensive and unsustainable form, sends the wrong message. We need the kind of clarity that can only come from full repeal by Congress - a step the Congressional Budget Office said will cost nothing.
Congress also has an obligation to repeal CLASS so that neither the Obama administration nor any future White House can revive the program with budget gimmicks that will put future generations of taxpayers on the hook.
I introduced legislation in April to repeal CLASS. My bill now has 34 co-sponsors, and support is growing. The Obama administration has already wasted $5 million trying to implement its failed entitlement program. Only repeal will ensure the White House does not pour more money down the drain trying to revive this bad idea.
Eliminating the threat of CLASS is not enough, however. Since all of Obamacare shares the flaws and faulty assumptions that made CLASS's collapse inevitable, we need to stop the rest of the law as well - before the worst parts of it start to take effect.
Congress should move to repeal CLASS and the rest of Obamacare, and replace them with common-sense reforms that achieve the goal we all share: a sustainable plan to truly lower health care costs.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune is chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and serves on the Budget Committee and Finance Committee.