Republican Matt Doheny is out with a statement today slamming his likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Bill Owens, on health care.
At issue is the CLASS Act, a part of the 2010 health care overhaul that provides long-term care to the elderly or disabled. Mr. Owens voted to approve the health care law; Mr. Doheny dislikes it immensely, and wants to repeal it.
The Community Living Assistance Services Act was a voluntary insurance program that would pay $50 a day for long-term care, like assisted living or nursing home care.
But the Department of Health and Human Services realized that not enough young, healthy people would sign up for the plan and it wouldn't be able to stay solvent for 75 years, as required by law. So HHS basically just said, We're not going to implement this. It won't work.
Here's where the political friction comes into play: The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the plan would provide $70 billion in deficit reduction over the first 10 years. But that's only because it wouldn't pay out anything — literally, nothing — for the first five years of its existence, even as it collected premiums from workers.
That just about halves the deficit-reduction estimate that was promised in the original legislation.
"Did Bill Owens help sell this lie to the American public?" Mr. Doheny said in a statement. "Or did he fail to do the research that would have told him these savings weren't real?"
The statement from Mr. Doheny's office cites Mr. Owens' statement in March 2010 that "The math in this bill is sound."
Mr. Owens' spokesman, Sean Magers, says in a statement: "Congressman Owens is currently in Ottawa meeting with Canadian officials discussing job creation, international trade, border security and other issues that affect our region. He agrees that this provision of the health care law should not be implemented, and that we should work together to find ways to reduce our nation's health care costs while expanding access to and improving the quality of health care."
When I put the "What would you do about this?" question before Mr. Doheny, spokesman Jude Seymour said: ""Matt would have never voted for a plan so fundamentally flawed as ObamaCare. ...We're going to be using the next 13 months to talk and think about ways to provide patient centered care that is driven by the free market, not one that is driven by the heavy hand of government."