The Obama administration has officially scrapped one of the two entitlement programs Congress created under Obamacare. The failure of the “CLASS Act” shows how the rest of that law threatens every American’s private health insurance.

The idea behind CLASS was that the government would run a voluntary and self-sustaining insurance plan to help the disabled pay for long-term care, including nursing home care. It was doomed to fail, thanks to a special kind of government price control Congress imposed on the premiums.

Congress required CLASS to set each applicant’s premiums according to the average applicant’s risk of needing such long-term care, rather than her individual risk. But averaged premiums are only attractive to people with above-average risks. Since few people with below-average risks would enroll, the average premium would rise. That would encourage more people with below-average risks not to enroll, and the vicious cycle would continue until the program collapsed.

As it turns out, CLASS collapsed even before its 2012 start date. The same thing happened when Obamacare imposed the same sort of price controls on health insurance for children in September 2010: the markets for child-only coverage collapsed in a total of 17 states, and are slowly collapsing in even more.

Congress should require Obamacare’s health insurance provisions to be voluntary and self-sustaining, just like CLASS: no individual mandate, no taxpayer subsidies.

Or is fiscal irresponsibility part of the plan?

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