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Letter


Support the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act
HR 5853

September 28, 2010

The Honorable Charles Boustany, Jr.
United States House of Representatives
1117 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Boustany:

     On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to offer our support for H.R. 5853, your Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act. This legislation would educate Americans on the importance of reconsidering implementation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, so as to protect taxpayers from the potential liabilities of this massive, new entitlement program.

     The CLASS Act remains one of the largest, and least discussed, budget gimmicks in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It would create a national long-term-care (LTC) insurance program, whereby employees could opt in and pay a premium that would then go to finance benefits for individuals who qualify for LTC. While supporters have portrayed this program as one that will generate huge surpluses and result in no burdens to taxpayers, this could not be further from the truth when considering its long-term effects. Participants would be required to pay five years’ worth of premiums before becoming eligible for payouts, which leads us to believe that any initial surpluses would start to steadily decline after 2016. In the legislation’s finding, the Medicare Actuary projects that deficits will occur regularly after 2025, thereby making way for a possible taxpayer-subsidized bailout.

     Your legislation includes critical safeguards for taxpayers and initiates a much-needed conversation on an issue that was largely overlooked during the health care debate. More specifically, H.R. 5853 would do the following:

  • Require the Health and Human Services Secretary to report to Congress on the final CLASS plan and its long-term soundness;
  • Prevent the implementation of a final CLASS plan unless it is passed by two-thirds in both the House and Senate;
  • Inform consumers of financial risks prior to enrollment;
  • Prohibit the collection of premiums during the promulgation of final regulations; and
  • Sunset CLASS if its structure becomes actuarially unsound within a 75-year period.

     Given the dismal economic climate, we cannot afford to further saddle American taxpayers with an unsustainable entitlement program that will add to the ever-growing $13 trillion debt. We commend your efforts and pledge to work with you on this important package to make certain it becomes law. Any roll call votes on H.R. 5853 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress.

Sincerely,

Jordan Forbes
Federal Government Affairs Manager