Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is Secretary Sebelius Hiding Information on CLASS?

Several senators this afternoon sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius asking that her Department provide information on the participation and premium modeling conducted by the Administration on the CLASS Act prior to the enactment of the health care law.  In exchanges with Senator Thune at recent Finance Committee hearings, the Secretary admitted that the program is “totally unsustainable” as written in the law – and she pledged to disclose to Congress the information that was available to HHS prior to the law’s enactment.  However, several months later, she has failed to provide that information to the Senate – and also failed to disclose the same information to House Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chairman Rehberg, who requested similar documents from HHS nearly a month ago.

The participation models are important because, as Secretary Sebelius herself testified last month, if only the disabled community enrolls in the CLASS Act, “this program is immediately insolvent.”  It’s entirely possible that HHS knew through participation analyses that the program would be “totally unsustainable” and BEFORE the bill became law – yet did not publicly alert Members of Congress to the fact that they were passing a fiscally unsound and “immediately insolvent” new entitlement.

Multiple Members of Congress have requested these documents – and the President said as recently as this morning that he’s interested in engaging in bipartisan discussions around entitlement reform.  In that case, why haven’t the documents been released?  What exactly does HHS not want to disclose?