Boustany Attacks CLASS Act in Ways and Means Hearing with HHS Secretary Sebelius

February 16, 2011

(Video at bottom)

Washington, DC – US Representative Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-Southwest Louisiana), a leading opponent of President Obama’s health-care law, today questioned Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius at a Ways and Means hearing. The hearing was held to discuss President Obama’s FY2012 budget, and its impact on the health-care law passed last year.

In his questioning of Sec. Sebelius, Boustany discussed the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, a controversial component of the law designed as a new disability entitlement program that would likely require a taxpayer bailout of the poorly crafted program.

“Many Americans oppose the idea of being required to purchase expensive Washington-approved health insurance,” Boustany said during his inquiry with Sebelius. “The new health law also requires participating employers to auto-enroll all workers in the CLASS entitlement program – unless a worker pays close attention and takes the time to opt out.”

In her response, the HHS Secretary inaccurately claimed automatic enrollment was not part of the CLASS program. However, the law clearly requires the Secretary to work with the Treasury Department to establish procedures for Americans to be “automatically enrolled in the CLASS program by an employer.” (Section 3204, Enrollment and Disenrollment Requirements)

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the President’s own deficit commission both call for repeal of the program,” Boustany continued. “You recently announced a massive $93.5 million P.R. program targeting employers. What is your contingency plan if you cannot pressure enough employers to auto-enroll workers in a program Democratic Senator Kent Conrad calls a ‘Ponzi scheme?’” Secretary Sebelius agreed the present framework of CLASS was not sustainable. Today’s comments echo her previous comments about the CLASS ACT.

Further, she admitted at today’s hearing she did not know how much the health-care law would cost.

Last year, Boustany introduced legislation to repeal the CLASS Act, part of a larger goal of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with sensible alternatives.

Congressman Boustany has been a leader in the fight against the health-care law, and has been a vocal proponent for real, effective change to the American health-care system. “We need a practical health-care plan to improve quality, reduce costs and expand effective coverage, while improving the doctor-patient relationship,” Boustany said. “I am committed to working with my colleagues until this is fully realized.”

Video of Hearing:

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